Vietnamese Dissident Blogger Pham Doan Trang Detained, Interrogated

Blogger Phạm Đoan Trang

Defend the Defenders, June 2, 2018


Vietnam’s security forces kidnapped prominent dissident blogger Pham Doan Trang when she came back to Hanoi from Ho Chi Minh City, and heldher incommunicado for several hours.

According to blogger Trinh Kim Tien, Ms. Trang whose new book Chính trị bình dân(Politics for All) is very popular among Vietnamese, arrived in Hanoi around midnight onJune first. Upon her arrival to the capital city, she was detained by officers from the Ministry of Public Security.

Trang was reportedlytaken to her mother’s apartment in Le Duc Tho residental building where four plainclothes agents stationed near the apartment whole night.

At around 8 AM onJune 2, security officers came and took her to an unknown location. Her mother wasnot informed where they tookher daughter nor the reason for being detained, Mrs. Tien said.

Police returned Trang to her mother’s house around 8pm onSaturday but she remains underclose surveillance. In a police station, Trang was questioned about her activities, and police officers said she will have to return for moreinterrogation on Monday (June 4).

The detention maybe linked to the appeal hearing of four senior members of the Brotherhood for Democracy slated on June 4, Tien suggested.

This is the third detention of Trang so far this year, a textbook case of judicial harassment against her rights defense. On February 24, she was summoned to a police station for 10-hour interrogation on her book Chính trị bình dân, and on March 8, security forces kidnapped her in a bid to prevent her from meeting with Cynthia Veliko, head of the UN Office of the High Commisioner for Human Rights’ Regional Office in the Southeast Asia when she visited the communist nation.

Trang is among the leading political dissidents in Vietnam. After resigning as a journalist for state-run media, she has blogged politically and has been involved in a number of political activities, including working as a writer and editor for Vietnam Right NowandLuat Khoa Tap Chi, an independent legal websiteas well as a namely political blog The Vietnamese.

She has produced nearly ten books. Chính trị bình dânis the latest, in which she encourages all people to engage in politics to settle the country’s issues instead of allowing the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam to decide on the behalf of the 94-million nation.

Due to her political activities, she has been under close surveillance by security forces.

In 2015, while participating in a peaceful demonstration in Hanoi to protest the city’s plan to chop down thousands of old-growth trees, she was brutally beaten by security forces which resulted in serious injuries in her left leg. The injuries have not healed. She is in need of medical care.

In May 2016, she was kidnapped by security forces when she was on her way to a meeting between then US President Barack Obama and civil society in Hanoi when he visited the communist nation.

On November 17 last year, after a meeting with political officers of the EU Member States at the Office of the EU Delegation to Vietnam together with some other activists, she was detained for questioning for many hours, only being released around midnight.

OnMarch 5, People in Need, a Prague-based non-profit organization founded on the ideals of humanism, freedom, equality and solidarity, awarded her its Homo Homini Prize for 2017 for her contribution to human rights and democracy.

Along with purging political opponents within the ruling communist party to solidify his power, General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and his faction in the country’s leadership have intensified the crackdown on local dissents and independent civilsociety.

The government has discouraged citizens from getting interested in politics, saying they should focus on economic activities and leave political issues, including the country’s sovereignty and environmental problems to the party and its government. It considers Chính trị bình dâna provocation as the book encourages people to get involved in politics, so all people can decide major issues of the nation instead of leaving for communists.