Prisoner of Conscience Hoang Duc Binh Transferred Far from His Family

Labor activist and environmentalist Hoang Duc Binh (right) at his trial on Feb 6, 2018


Defend the Defenders, July 2, 2018


Vietnameseauthorities have transferred labor activist and environmental campaigner Hoang Duc Binh to An Diem prison camp in the central province of Quang Nam, about 550 km from his family.

Authorities in his native province of Nghe An didnot inform his family about the transfer, Hoang Nguyen, younger brother of the jailed activist told Defend the Defenders.

Mr. Nguyen said on July 2, his parents and he went to the Nghi Kim temporary detention facility under the authority of the Nghe An province’s Department of Public Security to visit Binh and provide him with some food supplements. However, the facility’s authorities told them that Binh had beentaken away without mentioning the time ofthe transfer.

An Diem prison camp is located in a mountainous area of Dai Loc district with severe natural conditions. A number of political prisoners have been imprisoned there, including prominent human rights lawyer Le Quoc Quan and well-known writer and democracy campaigner Nguyen Xuan Nghia.

Mr. Binh, vice president of the unsanctioned organization Viet Labor Movement, was arrested on May 15 last year and charged with “resisting persons in the performance of their official duties” under Article 330 and “Abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State, the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and/or citizens” under Article 331 of the country’s 2015 Penal Code.

On February 6 this year, the People’s Court of Dien Chau district sentenced him to 14 years in prison in the first-instance hearing and the People’s Court of Nghe An province upheld the sentence in the appeal hearing on April 24.

According to his lawyer Ha Huy Son, both the first-instance hearing and the appeal hearing failed to meet international fair trial standards. The court’s decisions were based on statements of police officers while the judge rejected the requests of the defendant and his lawyer to use video clips made by Binh and his fellows which couldprove that the activist had done nothing to be accused of resisting on-duty officials as well as abusing the right to freedom of democracy as evidents of the hearing.

He was convicted for his defenseofworkers’ rights, and assisting Formosa-affected fishermen in seeking adequate compensation.

He had been kept incommunicado formonths until late March when he was permitted to meet with his lawyer to prepare for his defense. His family was allowed to meet him for the first time in late April, after the appeal.

The arrest and conviction of Binh ispart of Vietnam’s ongoing crackdown on dissidents, human rights defenders, social activists and bloggers. Since early 2017, Vietnam has arrested more than 50 activists, charging them with vague articles in the national security provisions of the Penal Code.

Dozens of activists have been convicted and sentenced to lengthy imprisonments of between three and 16 years. Among convicted are eight key members of the unregistered organization Brotherhood for Democracy.

Viet Labor Movement has also been one of main targets of the Vietnamese government persecution. Two other vice presidents of the organization namely Nguyen Van Duc Do and Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung are in jail while President Do Thi Minh Hanh has been under continous attacks of under-covered policemen who threw stones, bricks and a hand-made bomb to her father’s private residence in Di Linh district, Lam Dong province where she lives with her father.