2015 HUMAN RIGHTS DOSSIER
[themify_box style=”blue comment rounded” ]In an interview with Radio Free Asia (RFA), Blogger Mẹ Nấm stated that she refused to comply with the requests from Public Security forces three times. She did so because she knew all to well that the purpose of these requests was to get her to a police station so that she could be detained and/or arrested if needed. Detention and arrest would prevent her from traveling to Hà Nội to meet with representatives of foreign embassies and international human rights organizations if and when they come there.[/themify_box]
VNWHR | Dec 28, 2015
In 2015, the following violations of Vietnamese women’s human rights were noted.
- January 12, 2015 – Police attacked 12 activists when they visited prisoner of conscience Trần Anh Kim.
A group of 12 activists and dissidents denounced that they were viciously attacked the hooligans and uniformed police on January 21, 2015 when they visited a just-released prisoner of conscience, Mr. Trần Anh Kim. Three women were among those attacked. Theywere Ms. Trần Thị Nga, Ms. Nguyễn Thị Kim Chi, and Ms. Mai Thị Tuyết Thanh.
The group submitted an urgent complaint to the Minister of Public Security. The complaint stated that the attack started at 10AM in Trần Hưng Đạo Ward, Thái Bình City right after the group left the home of Mr. Trần Anh Kim. Mr. Kim was a lieutenant colonel (retired) of the People’s Army of Vietnam. At one time he served as Deputy Political Commissar in the Military Commission of the City of Thái Bình. For taking part in pro-democracy and freedom activities Mr. Kim was sentenced to 5 ½ years in prison.
Two senior citizens were member of the group of 12. They are NSUT (“First Class Artist”) Nguyễn Thị Kim Chi, age above 70, and geophysicist Nguyễn Thanh Giang, age above 80.
2.January 26, 2015 – Journalist Phạm Đoan Trang detained and interrogated for several hours at Tân Sơn Nhất Airport
On Monday January 26, 2015, customs & immigration officials at Tân Sơn Nhất airport detained a journalist, Ms. Phạm Đoan Trang, 37, for several hours upon her return from the Philippines. She was interrogated and wasn’t released until the morning of Tuesday January 27, 2015.
3.March 28, 2015 – Police arrested blogger Mẹ Nấm and surrounded many other at their homes.
On the morning of March 28, 2015 public security officials stopped and arrested several members of the Association of Former Prisoners of Conscience as they were preparing to go to Hà Nội. They had planned to go to the capital to meet and submit a petition to members of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). The IPU was holding its 132nd meeting in Hà Nội at the time.
In Nha Trang, public security forces kidnapped two bloggers, Ms. Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh (a.k.a Mẹ Nấm or “Mother Mushroom”) and Mr. Võ Trường Thiện. The bloggers were kidnapped on Nguyễn Tất Thành Boulevard as they were on their way to Nha Trang Airport to board a flight to Hà Nội. The purpose of their trip to Hà Nội was to attend as invited guests a meeting at the Embassy of Germany scheduled for Sunday March 29, 2015. They would talk to embassy staff about their personal experience as dissidents and members of the Vietnamese Bloggers’ Network. Present at the meeting would be Professor Norbert Lamnert.
The arrest of these two bloggers coincided with the increase in security measures taken by the government during the 132nd meeting of the IPU. Both bloggers were the among the first ones to sign a petition demanding more human rights for Vietnam in 2015. It was believed that the bloggers were held at an office of the Khánh Hòa Province’s Public Security apparatus located at 80 Trần Phú Street, Nha Trang City, phones: 3525048, 35258080.
Previously, the Investigative Branch of the Public Security organization had dispatched three meeting requests to blogger Mẹ Nấm. These requests asked her to come “retrieve her personal belongings and work with the police on some of her Facebook postings” at the Khánh Hòa Province Public Security Station. This station is located at 89 Trần Phú Street. When these requests were issued, the trial of a Public Security agent accused of beating a school boy named Từ Ngọc Thạch to death was taking place in Khánh Hòa.
In an interview with Radio Free Asia (RFA), Blogger Mẹ Nấm stated that she refused to comply with the requests from Public Security forces three times. She did so because she knew all to well that the purpose of these requests was to get her to a police station so that she could be detained and/or arrested if needed. Detention and arrest would prevent her from traveling to Hà Nội to meet with representatives of foreign embassies and international human rights organizations if and when they come there.
4.March 8, 2015 – Police repressed a demonstration organized by the Solidarity Movement Fighting for Unjustly Accused People
A demonstration aimed at “opposing the internal enemies and resisting the external invaders” and planned for the morning of March 8, 2015 in Saigon was repressed by security forces. Dozens of members of the Solidarity Movement Fighting for Unjustly Accused People group were surrounded and arrested as they made their way to the planned demonstration site. Among those arrested were key members of the Solidarity movement such as Mrs. Trần Ngọc Anh, Mrs. Phùng Thị Lý, Mrs. Lê Thị Ngọc Đa.
In the case of Mrs. Phùng Thị Lý, the car she was traveling in was stopped around 7:30AM on the morning of March 8, 2015. The stop happened on an empty stretch of the highway from Long An to Saigon. The reason the police gave for stopping her was “she caused a public disturbance.” Mrs. Lý was taken to the police station of Tân Đông Hamlet, Thách Hoá District Long An Province.
Upon her release from the police station around noon, Mrs. Lý denounced the police for roughing her up and grabbing her handbag while in their custody.
5. April 26, 2015 – Scores of women arrested during protest against the cutting of mature trees in Hanoi.
The police repressed a march to protest the cutting down of thousands of mature trees in the capital city of Hà Nội. Many demonstrators were roughed up and 22 of them were arrested and taken to the Long Biên Police Station.
What transpired was around 9:15AM on April 26, 2015, more than 60 young people decided to march around the Hồ Hoàn Kiếm lake (“Lake of Returned Sword”) to protest the cutting down of thousands of mature trees in the capital city of Hà Nội. Responding to the protest, Hà Nội city government dispatched more than 300 police officers to the lakeside area to suppress the march. Using very muscular tactics, the policemen succeeded in stopping the march. By 11AM they had beaten up many demonstrators and arrested 22 of them. These 22 were packed on a bus and taken to the Long Biên District police station in Hà Nội.
The remaining demonstrators followed the bus to the Long Biên Police Station. There, they staged an impromptu demonstration to demand the release of the 22 who were arrested. Banners with statements including “We demand that the police release the arrested! We protest the illegal arrests” were hoisted.
Around 4PM on the same day, the Long Biên police released the 22 who were arrested. They were greeted with great joy by all.
6.May 7, 2015 – Security agencies prevented activists from leaving the country and arrested many of them.
On May 7, 2015 scores of human rights activists were detained, interrogated and forbidden to leave the countries. Some of these were: Mrs. Nguyễn Thị Nhung (mother of Ms. Nguyễn Phương Uyên), Mr. Lê Bá Huy Đào, Mr. Lê Anh Hùng, and Ms. Maria Thúy Nguyễn. These arrests happened as the Vietnamese-American Dialog were taking place.
7.June 26, 2015 – People greeting prisoner of conscience Trình Bá Khiêm at his release from prison camp were assaulted.
Mr. Trịnh Bá Khiêm and his wife Cấn Thị Thêu were arrested during protests in reaction to a government land grab in Dương Nội district, Hà Đông province in April 25, 2014.
Upon learning from his family members who visited him that Mr. Khiêm would be released a month earlier – May 25 rather than June 25, 2015 – a group consisting of citizens from Dương Nội and human rights activists from Hà Nội went and waited at the gate of Prison Camp #6, Thanh Chương district, Nghệ An province on June 25, 2015 to welcome Mr. Trịnh Bá Khiêm back.
As they waited for Mr. Khiêm to come out, plain clothed hooligans came by and savagely beat them up to chase them away.
8.August 28, 2015 – People greeting prisoner of conscience Trần Minh Nhật at his release from prison camp were assaulted.
On the morning of August 28, 2015, as a group human rights activists split into 3 smaller groups to return from a trip to greet Mr. Trần Minh Nhật at the gate of the prison camp where he was held, hooligans in civilian clothes came by, attacked and destroyed the personal properties of activists in 2 of these 3 groups.
9.September 28, 2015 – Huỳnh Thục Vy continued to be harassed
On September 14, 2015 Huỳnh Thục Vy and her husband received an invitation to a “People’s Mobilization Drive 2015” event. It was to be held at the Thống Nhất Ward Culture Hall. The Public Security Sation of Thống Nhất ward, Buôn Hồ city, Đắc Lắc Province, sent out the invitation. The real purpose of the event was to denounce and isolate the Huỳnhs and intimidate anyone who dares to have any contact with them. According to one of the 100 or so people who attended the event which was held on September 15, 2015, each person present was given VND$ 40,000 as lunch money and asked to actively participate in the denunciations.
On September 18, 2015, two policemen from Thống Nhất ward, Buôn Hồ city, Đắc Lắc province came to the Huynh’s house to hand deliver yet another an invitation to appear at the Buôn Hồ’s Public Security Station.
10.September 23, 2015 – Five members of YouTube channel Lương Tâm TV (“Conscience TV”) arrested
On September 23, 2015, five members of the YouTube Channel “Kênh Lương Tâm TV” (Conscience TV Channel”) were arrested and some of their possessions confiscated illegally. Two women were among the five arrested. They were Ms. Lê Thị Yến and Ms. Lê Thu Hà.
During the demonstration to demand the release of the Kênh Lương Tâm TV five, scuffles broke out between civil society activists and the police. One activist, Ms. Doan Trang, had her nose and mouth bloodied.
11.November 24, 2015 – Police beat up and severely injured Ms. Đỗ Thị Hương, a “Dân Oan” (Unjustly Accused Person”) from Bình Định Province. She had to be admitted to the Emergency Room.
In the morning of November 24, 2015 Ms. Đỗ Thị Hương and other Dân Oans (Unjustly Accused People) from all three regions of the country demonstrated peacefully in the capital city of Hà Nội to demand that the government free Mr. Nguyễn Mai Trung Tuấn, a 15-year old boy. He was jailed by the Thạch Hóa District court in Long An Province.
Uniformed and plain clothed police interrupted the demonstration. They beat up demonstrators including Mrs. Huơng. They applied applied pressure on Ms. Hương vital points until she passed out. They then threw her on a bus and took her the police station located at 1 Ngô Thì Nhậm Street, Hà Đông district, Hà Nội.
A large number of people followed the bus to the police station. There, they started another demonstration to demand that the police and the civil defense personnel there take her to the emergency room because Ms. Hương remained unconscious. The police relented and transported Ms. Hương to a nearby hospital. But at the hospital, when asked to pay the admission fee, Mr. Bùi Thanh Thảo, the police officer in charge refused and accepted no responsibilities for the injuries sustained by Mrs. Hương. An anonymous kind-hearted person eventually paid for all of her hospital expenses.
12.November 22, 2015 – Ms. Đỗ Thị Minh Hạnh arrested and severely beaten up
On November 22, 2015, Ms. Đỗ Thi Minh Hạnh accused the Đồng Nai police of “arresting and brutally beating up” two activists, herself and journalist Trương Minh Đức at the Long Bình Police Station.
They were conferring with lawyers for the workers at the Yupoong Vietnam Company on labor rights and the creation of an independent worker union when “uniformed as well as plain clothed policemen broke in, arrested them, and took them to the Long Bình Police Station”.
On November 24, 2015, when responding to a BBC interview as she was recuperating in a hospital in HCM City, Ms. Hạnh stated that she was still “having headaches, back pains, bloodshot eyes, and other injuries sustained during her detention at the Long Bình Police Station”
- Activist Trần Thị Nga harassed and her freedom curtailed numerous times in 2015
- On January 21, 2015 she was beaten during a trip to visit former prisoner of conscience Trần Anh Kim
- On March 30, 2015, she was kidnapped and assaulted after she met with German Senators at the Embassy of Germany in Hanoi.
- On March 14, 2015, she was prevented for leaving the city, this is a flagrant violation of her freedom of movement.
- On April 16, 2015, she was arrested and brutally manhandled during a protest against the cutting of thousands of mature trees in Hanoi. She and other protesters were taken to the Long Biên Police station.
- December 13, 2015 – Nguyễn Phương Uyên arrested
On the morning of December 13, 2015, police raided the Chiêu Anh bookstore/coffee shop located on Nguyễn Văn Nguyễn Street, Tân Định Ward, District 1. Arrested during the surprise raid were a former prisoner of conscience, Ms. Nguyễn Phương Uyên, 22, and the owner of the shop, Ms. Chiêu Anh. Their arrest and subsequent interrogation were in connection with a book titled “Uớc Mơ Của Thủy” (“Thủy’s Dream” – “Thủy” also means “country”). An overseas Vietnamese wrote this book under the pen name Lê Việt Kỳ Nhi. Ms. Nguyễn Phương Uyên was arrested because she wrote the forewords to the book.
15.December 16, 2015 – Ms. Lê Thu Hà was harassed several times.
On December 16, 2015 The Ministry of Public Security charged Ms. Lê Thu Hà and Lawyer Nguyễn Văn Đài with the crime of “spreading propaganda aimed at opposing and disrupting the government.” Both were arrested and sent to Prison Camp B14.
In 2015, Ms. Lê Thu Hà was harassed two times.
On April 3, 2015 Nôi Bài airport security confiscated her passport at Nội Bài airport to prevent her from boarding a plane to Sweden to attend a conference on “Defender’s Day”. Nội Bài Airport Security claimed that they were only searching people randomly in the context of providing enhanced security to the capital where the 132nd meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) was taking place. In any case, the pretext Nôi Bài Airport Security used to confiscate Ms. Lê Thu Hà’s passport was she was ‘engaged in activities harmful to national security.”
On December 23, 2015, Public Security officers detained and interrogated Ms. Lê Thu Hà for 16 hours, from 9AM to 2AM on the next day. Her detention and interrogation were related to the harassment and arrest of 5 young people associated with the Lương Tâm Tv channel on YouTube.
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