Hanoi-based Activist Detained, Tortured in HCM City

Mr. Nguyen Dinh Ha (first on left) during his tour in the U.S. together with other activists in 2014

Defend the Defenders, September 24, 2017

Hanoi-based human rights defender Nguyen Dinh Ha and two other activists have been detained and tortured by security forces in Ho Chi Minh City during interrogation, local activists have reported.

According to activist Nguyen Nu Phuong Dung, a member of the Vietnam Pathway movement, Mr. Ha went to meet with other activists in the country’s biggest economic hub several days ago.

In the evening of September 23, police violently entered in a private residence in Lac Long Quan street in Saigon, where Ha and two other activists stayed. Police detained the trio and took them to a police station in Ward 5, District 11 where they interrogated them overnight.

Police were said to torture the three activists, beating them and forcing them to provide passwords of their laptops and cell phones.

After questioning them for hours, police released them on 3 PM of September 24 without returning their laptops and cell phones.

Mr. Ha is a young activist in Hanoi. He graduated from the Hanoi Law University.

He has participated in many peaceful anti-China protests in Hanoi in 2011-2016 as well as other events to promote human rights and multi-party democracy.

In 2014, he visited the U.S. at the invitation of the U.S. Congress to lobby for human rights enhancement in the Southeast Asian nation.

He also competed for a place of the country’s highest legislative body National Assembly in the general election in May 2016, however, he was unfairly eliminated by the communist-controlled Fatherland Front.

He is also a reporter of Radio Free Asia.

Due to his human rights works, Ha has been under close surveillance of police who have been harassing him many times.

Ha has been placed de facto under house arrest in many occasions.

Ha told Defend the Defenders that in August, he was detained by Hanoi police who illegally robbed his significant amount of money and asked him to stop his activities.

Ha said he met troubles while registering for a master course in human rights carried out by the Hanoi University of Humanity due to police’s intervention.

Kidnap, detention, robbery, torture and interrogation are common practices applied by Vietnam’s security forces against local political dissidents, human rights defenders, social activists and online bloggers. Dozens of activists have become victims of police and plain clothes agents in the past few years and many of them sustained severe injuries.