The Case of Mr. Ngô Hào’s Wife – A Victim of Severe Human Rights Violations.

Duong Thi Tan, Ngo Hao's wife, Thuc Vy
Duong Thi Tan, Ngo Hao’s wife, Thuc Vy

Huynh Thuc Vy – Reporting for Vietnamese Woman Human Rights

December 12, 2013

Contact: Nguyen Thi Kim Lan Address: 17/6 Nguyen Trai str., ward 5, Tuy Hoa city, Phu Yen province. Tel:  0122-660-6052

Mr. Ngô Hào is a 65 year old dissident who resides at Lộc Đông village, Đông Hòa District, Phú Yên Province. A writer of articles promoting democracy and a multi-party political system, Mr. Ngô Hào was arrested on February 7, 2013 and then indicted by the Prosecutor of the People’s Court in Phú Yên for the crime of “engaging in activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s government”, per article 79 of the Vietnamese Criminal Code.

On November 9, 2013, the Court of First Instance of the Phú Yên People’s Court sentenced Mr. Ngô Hào to 15 years in jail and 5 years of home detention after his release from jail.  Currently being held at the Phú Yên Temporary Detention Camp, on December 23, 2013 Mr. Ngô Hào will face Phú Yên’s Court of Appeals. The court will issue the final sentencing.

I am very concerned that no one in Mr. Ngô Hào’s family has been allowed to see him since his arrest. In face-to-face discussions with us, his wife, Mme. Nguyễn Thị Kim Lan, and his eldest son, Mr. Ngô Minh Tâm, made it clear that they believe in his innocence and will support him no matter what. After all, they said, what he wrote is righteous and as citizen he should be free to write about what he believes in. They also told us that they deeply resented the unfair sentence handed down to Mr. Ngô Hào.

Mme. Nguyễn Thị Kim Lan is very sick these days. A cancer is developing at the roof of her mouth. It is hard for her to speak normally. Once in a while, she travels to Saigon to receive radiation therapy. She lives in a house best described as a “slum of a house, a house that can’t possibly be called a house” by Mr. Võ Văn Bửu, a  member of the Hoà Hảo Buddhist Faith and someone I have met a few times. In short, this is how Mme. Nguyễn Thị Kim Lan lives these days: alone, sick, and in abject poverty, while anxiously waiting for news of her beloved husband. And she does so as the local government relentlessly harasses her.

More ominous, members of Public Security Forces in Phú Yên have threatened to arrest her son who is now in college if she didn’t stop communicating with foreign news organizations and members of the the dissident community inside the country. Besides these threats, they also took advantage of the fact that she is a simple woman from the countryside with little understanding of her human rights. They tried to browbeat and cajole her and members of her family into convincing her husband to admit his guilt.  The actions of the Phú Yên Public Security Forces, taken in the name of the Government of Vietnam, are incompatible and unworthy of the status of Vietnam as a member of the United Nations’ Human Rights Commission.

Mr. Ngô Minh Tâm, the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Ngô Hào, is presently a student at Saigon Polytechnic University. He is also subjected to unrelenting harassments from the Public Security Forces of Vietnam. His crimes? He talked about his father’s situation with the media. The harassments he was subjected to included summons to meetings with the Public Security Forces.  More often than not, these meetings were also scheduled on college exam days.  Needless to say, these meetings severely stressed out Mr. Ngô Minh Tâm and caused him to fall behind further and further in his studies. His younger brother, Mr. Ngô Minh Trí, now 23 (he was born in 1994), had to drop out of school. He now works away from home to earn the money needed to care for his mother and to prepare care packages to be send to his jailed father if and when allowed to do so.

It is clear now that not only Mr. Ngô Hào was unjustly arrested, condemned, and jailed for his mild behavior, but his entire family was – and still is – victimized by a Government of Vietnam as a matter of state policy. Such a policy flagrantly violates the human rights of Mr. Ngô Hào and his family. While their situation hasn’t attracted the attention it deserves from public opinion both inside and outside of the country, members of VWHR have long been interested in providing them both legal and spiritual support. Yet, regardless of what we do, we at the VWHR just feel so helpless that there is so little we could do to reduce the hardship and suffering that the family is now experiencing.

Yet there is one piece of good news. Mme. Nguyễn Thị Kim Lan has become a member of Vietnamese Women Human Rights. With her as one of us, it will be easier for us to help her. Thus, we earnestly appeal to public opinion to pay attention to the upcoming December 23, 2013 trial of Mr. Ngô Hào. And on behalf of our new member, we would like to alert public opinion both inside and outside Vietnam about the case of Mrs. Ngô Hào and the physical, mental and financial hardships and the sufferings that she and her two sons are now shouldering.

Please join us and march for Vietnamese Women Human Rights! Please join us and speak up to support all Vietnamese women who are victims of human rights abuse!

FRENCH – VERSION

Monsieur Ngô Hào, habitant du village de Loc Dong, commune de Hoa Bình, district Đông Hoà de la  province de Phú Yên  est un dissident de 65 ans, écrivant souvent des articles pour promouvoir la démocratie et le pluralisme. Arrêté le 7 Février 2013 et condamné par le Tribunal de première instance de la même province à 15 ans de prison et 5 ans de détention à domicile, ceci pour ‘activités visant à renverser le gouvernement’ selon l’article 79 du Code Pénal du Viet Nam. En ce moment, il est retenu à la prison de Phú Yên en attendant le procès de la Cour d’Appel   le 23 décembre 2013. Depuis son arrestation, la famille n’a pas pu le voir. Nous avons contacté sa femme Nguyen Thi Kim Lan et son fils ainé Ngô Minh Tâm qui se sont montrés très inquiets de sa santé. Madame Kim Lan, présentement en mauvaise santé du à un cancer buccal,  subit en outre des pressions des autorités locales : le service de police de Phu Yên l’a même menacé de ne plus contacter les médias  étrangers ainsi que les dissidents; faute de quoi,  il va  emprisonner son fils,  étudiant à l’université qui est en plus  constamment surveillé et harassé par la police, ce qui nuit à son rendement scolaire. Il profite même du manque de connaissance sur les droits de la personne de cette paysanne pour la menacer. Ceci est totalement indigne d’un pays membre du Conseil des droits de l’homme des Nations Unies . Cependant,comme  Madame Nguyen Thi Kim Lan est présentement membre de l’Association des Femmes vietnamiennes sur les droits humains, nous demandons l’opinion publique de suivre le déroulement du procès ce 23 decembre et appelons l’opinion publique dans le monde  de se solidariser avec  les femmes victimes des abus des droits humains.