September 22, 2016
By Defend the Defenders, September 22, 2016
On September 22, on the day of the appeal hearing of prominent blogger Nguyen Huu Vinh (aka Anh Ba Sam) and his assistant Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy, security forces in Hanoi attacked activist La Viet Dung when he approached the court building.
Mr. Dung, a member of patriotic group No-U (say no to China’s U-shaped line claim in the East Sea) was stopped by police at a place about one kilometer from the court building where the appeal hearing of Mr. Vinh and Ms. Thuy. Later, police knocked down him from his motorbike and four police officers assaulted him, causing severe injuries on his head and body.
Dung, who was also brutally beaten by plainclothes agents on July 10, was brought to a hospital for urgent emergency, with bleeding in many places.
He is among many activists beaten by police this week.
On September 19, plainclothes agents assaulted human rights defender and former prisoner of conscience Nguyen Ba Truyen and his wife Kim Phuong in Ho Chi Minh City.
On September 20, Hanoi police detained around 50 activists near the People’s Court of Dong Da district where land right activist Can Thi Theu was being tried and barbarically beat many of them, including Mrs. Theu’s son Trinh Ba Tu, blogger Phung The Dung and Nam Phuong. Police also detained and beat female teacher Tran Thi Thao when she tried to go to the court.
Land right and labor right activist Tran Thi Nga was also beaten by police officers in the northern city of Phu Ly when she was on her way to Ho Chi Minh city.
The attack against Dung on Thursday was second within three months. On the evening of July 10, Dung was beaten by six plainclothes agents when he was heading home from a meeting with other local activists after a football match. The attackers used stones and bricks to beat him, causing severe injuries on his head and he needs months for recovery.
Nearly a hundred of Vietnamese activists have been attacked so far this year, both by police officers in uniform and plainclothes agents.
Meanwhile, today, Hanoi’s authorities deploy around a thousand of police officers and militia to the areas near the court building where the appeal hearing of Mr. Vinh and Mrs. Thuy to prevent local activists from entering the areas. Only few members of their families are allowed to enter the courtroom.
Foreign diplomats are permitted to attend the hearing in a separate room while many activists were detained.
On the trial on March 23, Mr. Vinh was sentenced to five years in prison while Mrs. Thuy to three years in jail on charge of freedom abuse under Article 258 of the Penal Code. The sentences are expected to remain the same in the appeal hearing.