Nguyen Van Duc Do Claims He Is Wrongly Charged with Subversion

Mr. Luu Van Vinh (left) and Mr. Nguyen Van Duc Do

By Defend the Defenders, December 19, 2017

Ho Chi Minh City-based resident Nguyen Van Duc Do has claimed that he is wrongly arrested and charged with “Carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration” under Article 79 of Vietnam’s 1999 Penal Code.

Do, who was arrested on November 6 last year when he visited the private residence of pro-democracy activist Luu Van Vinh in HCM City, made this claim while met with his lawyer Nguyen Van Mieng last week in Chi Hoa detention facility managed by the city’s police.

Both Vinh and Do were beaten upon the arrest.

Do, an electrician worker, is a friend of Vinh, who is founder of the Coalition for Self-determined Vietnamese People but left the organization several days before being arrested. He often visited local activists to help them fix technical failures.

Do told lawyer Mieng that he has conducted no political activities and it is not true that he is a vice president of the Coalition for Self-determined Vietnamese People which aims to end the communists’ political monopoly.

“I am just a technician having good relationship with some activists including Vinh,” Do said.

Mr. Vinh confirmed the claim of his friend.

Meanwhile, Vinh also rejected the accusation that he is trying to overthrow the government, saying his activities are in line with the citizens’ rights enshrined in the country’s 2013 Constitution.

Discussion about the country’s issues cannot be considered subversion, Vinh said.

Meanwhile, HCM City’s police ended their investigation on the case and handed the case to the city’s People’s Procuracy, advising to prosecute them under Clause 1 of Article 79.

The clause states “Organizers, instigators and active participants or those who cause serious consequences shall be sentenced to between twelve and twenty years of imprisonment, life imprisonment or capital punishment.”

Vinh and Do are expected to be tried in coming months, and they will face heavy sentences given the ongoing crackdown on local activists.

Vietnam has arrested, tried or expelled abroad 25 activists so far this year. Many activists were sentenced to between five and ten years in prison on charge of anti-state activities under national security provisions of the Penal Code.