Authorities in Vietnam’s Nghe An Continue Harassing Local Political Dissident

Roof of Mr. Thach's house thrown with stone (picture taken from the victim's Facebook page)
Roof of Mr. Thach’s house thrown with stone (picture taken from the victim’s Facebook page)

[themify_box style=”blue, announcement, rounded” ]Mr. Tran Duc Thach, 63-year old writer and poet, said the lives of his family’s members are at risk as government-backed thugs and plainclothes security agents have carried out a number of attacks his house with big bricks and stones since October 22, breaking doors, windows and the roof.[/themify_box]

By Vu Quoc Ngu, November 4, 2015

Authorities in Vietnam’s central province of Nghe An have constantly been harassing a local political dissident, terroring his family by throwing bricks and stones to his house, the victim has complained.

Mr. Tran Duc Thach, 63-year old writer and poet, said the lives of his family’s members are at risk as government-backed thugs and plainclothes security agents have carried out a number of attacks his house with big bricks and stones since October 22, breaking doors, windows and the roof.

The assaults are being made during mid days and nights, said Mr. Thach, who is a former prisoner of conscience for his articles criticizing the communist socio-economic policies.

He informed local authorities for the assaults, however, they refused to intervene, saying he must catch the attackers in red hand first.

Nghe An is the home province of Ho Chi Minh, the Vietnamese communist leader and the founder of the communist state.

The rains of stones and bricks began one week after Mr. Thach was brutally beaten and robbed by a group of thugs who are suspected to be security agents.

At mid day on October 15, when he was riding his motorbike on the way to his home in Dien Tan commune, Dien Chau district, he was stopped by three thugs who then attacked him later and broke his motorbike. Finally, they took his bag with two smart phones inside and ran away.

During the attacked, Mr. Thach shouted “Robbery, robbery”, but a boy nearby said “They are police officers, not robbers” and the attackers also beat the boy, Thach he told his friends.

Due to the assault, the pro-democracy activist suffered a number of injuries on his face and arms. He had to go to hospital for treatment.

Mr. Thach is a former soldier of the Vietnam People’s Army, participating in a number of brutal battles against the army of the Vietnam Republic supported by the U.S. during the Vietnam War. He early realized the brutality of the war between the two Vietnamese sides, and the suffering of civilians in the southern region due to attacks of the Viet Cong, another name of the communist army.

Due to his writings describing attacks of the Viet Cong against civilians during the Vietnam War, he was expelled from the army. In 2008, he was arrested for his articles for promoting multi-party democracy and demanding for freedom of expression, together with other activists Nguyen XuanNghia, Nguyen Kim Nhan, Nguyen AnhTuc, Nguyen Manh Son and Ngo Quynh.

The communist government tried him secretly in the same year, found him guilty of carrying out anti-state propaganda under Article 88 of the country’s Penal Code and sentenced him to three years in jail and additional three years under house arrest.

After his release in late August 2011, he has been continuing to fight for human rights, democracy, and independency of writers, writing articles to criticize the Vietnamese communist government’s poor management in socio-economic development and violations of human rights as well as weak response to China’s violations of the country’s sovereignty in the East Sea.

His health has worsened due to the inhumane treatment in prisons. Last year, he was under long-term treatment in the Hanoi-based Bach Mai Hospital for lung diseases partly caused by severe living conditions during imprisonment.

He has been constantly harassed by authorities in Nghe An province, and particularly Dien Chau district who have strived not to allow him to work to earn for living and take care for his two small children.

Vietnam has been ruled by communists for decades who have vowed to maintain the country under a one-party regime. The communist government has intensified its crackdown against local dissidents and human rights activists several months ahead of the party’s National Congress slated in the first quarter of 2016.

Along with arresting a number of political dissidents and charging them with anti-state allegations under controversial articles of the country’s Penal Code, Vietnam has deployed a new tactics: using plainclothes agents or hire criminals to brutally attack local activists.

A number of pro-democracy activists and human rights defenders, including lawyers Tran Thu Nam and Le Van Luan, bloggers Nguyen Chi Tuyen, Doan Trang, Nguyen Lan Thang and his wife Le Bich Vuong and Truong Minh Tam in Hanoi, Tran Thi Nga and Truong Minh Huong in Ha Nam province, Pham Minh Hoang in Ho Chi Minh City and Chu Manh Son in Nghe An, have been attacked by plainclothes agents and thugs during the past few months.

On October 30, thugs supported by Hanoi police attacked local activists when they held a party in a local restaurant to mark the 4th anniversary of the founding of No-U Football Club, a soccer team of patriotic activists who oppose China’s violations of Vietnamese sovereignty.

In early October, the police in Thai Binh arrested Tran Anh Kim, former political prisoner who completed his six and half years’ imprisonment in January, and accused him of conducting anti-state activities under Article 79 of the Penal Code.

Meanwhile, authorities in Hanoi plan to try Nguyen Viet Dung, the founder and leader of the unsanctioned Republican Party of Vietnam in December. On April 12, Dung was arrested and accused of conducting public disorders after he attended a peaceful protest in the city’s center to condemn the local government’s plan which aimed to chop down 6,700 valuable aged trees in the city’s main streets. His arrest was taken several days after he declared the establishment of the party which fights for multi-party and human rights enhancement in the Southeast Asian nation.