Vietnam Arrests Female Activist, Accusing Her of Subversion

Female activist Tran Thi Xuan

By Defend the Defenders, October 18, 2017

Authorities in Vietnam’s central province of Ha Tinh have arrested a local female activist namely Tran Thi Xuan, accusing her of “carrying out activities aiming to overthrow the government” under Article 79 of the country’s 1999 Penal Code.

Ms. Xuan, 41, will be held incommunicado for at least four months. She may face imprisonment of up to life imprisonment or capital punishment if convicted, according to the current law.

She is a member of the online group Brotherhood for Democracy, the organization the main target of the ongoing crackdown on local political dissidents, human rights defenders, social activists and online bloggers.

The female activist from Thach Kim commune, Loc Ha district, has participated in many charity activities to help local residents affected by the environmental disaster caused by the Hung Nghiep Formosa steel plant of the Taiwanese Formosa Plastic Group in 2016, and raised concerns about the environmental pollution due to Formosa’s discharge of toxic industrial chemicals to the central waters.

Since late July, Vietnam has arrested seven key individuals of Brotherhood for Democracy namely Nguyen Trung Ton, Pham Van Troi, Truong Minh Duc, Nguyen Van Tuc, and Nguyen Trung Truc and former member and founder Nguyen Bac Truyen on allegation of subversion.

Vietnam’s security forces have also summoned other low-profile members of the organization such as primary teacher Pham Ngoc Lan, former prisoner of conscience Nguyen Xuan Nghia, Son Thua Khuc, Le Trung Hieu, and Nguyen Van Trang to local police station to “work for issues related to national security.”

The family of Hanoi-based former prisoner of conscience Vu Hung, who is also a member of Brotherhood for Democracy announced that he has been missing from the morning of Wednesday. The family guessed that he may be detained by security forces.

Meanwhile, security forces have also arrested other activists, including Le Dinh Luong from the California-based pro-democracy Vietnam Reform Party but labeled by Hanoi as a terrorist group, and retired teacher Dao Quang Thuc, and charged them with subversion, and Nguyen Viet Dung, a former prisoner of conscience and accused him of “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 88 of the Penal Code.