Vietnam’s Suppression against Local Activists Continues

Mr. Y-Quynh Bdap, a religious activist in Dak Lak

By Defend the Defenders, December 21, 2016

Vietnam’s communist government has continued its crackdown against local dissidents, social activists and human rights defenders one week after sending two pro-democracy activists to jail.

On late night of Monday [December 19], Hanoi’s authorities deployed around 30 plainclothes police officers to attack the private residence of former political prisoner Pham Van Troi in Thuong Tin district.

After cutting off electricity of his house, police attacked his house with bricks and stones, breaking some window glass. The attackers, under supervision of local police chiefs, left the areas after hours of violence.

Mr. Troi, who was the head of the Brotherhood of Democracy, said his family including very old mother and two small children remain intake.

Former prisoner of conscience Tran Duc Thach in Dien Chau district in the central province of Nghe An said his family has been troubled in recent days. Local plainclothes agents cut off electricity of his house and also attacked with stones and bricks. Mr. Thach called the local police for help but received no response.

Meanwhile, in recent days, authorities in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak have summoned Y-Quynh Bdap, a religious activist in Ea Yong commune, Krong Pac district, to a police station to question his activities which aim to promote freedom of religion and beliefs among Ede ethnic minorities, another activist told the Defend the Defenders. On December 20, police searched his family’s house and confiscated his computer.

YQuynh is facing detention and accusation of conducting activities to undermine the unity policy under Article 87 of the Penal Code which has been used against people from ethnic minorities who advocate freedom of religions and beliefs.

Vietnam is holding around 130 political prisoners, according to Human Rights Watch while Amnesty International said the communist government in Hanoi keeps around 90 prisoners of conscience. Vietnam always denies of imprisoning prisoners of conscience but only law violators.

Along with detention and imprisonment, Vietnam’s government has deployed other tactics, including physical attacks and economic blockage against local activists. Dozens of activists have been beaten with severe injuries so far this year while private residences of others were attacked with dirty substances.

Recently, many international human rights organizations have called on Vietnam to stop violent wave against local dissidents, social activists and human rights defenders and bring perpetrators to court.