Hanoi Police Extend Investigation Period against Independent Blogger Le Anh Hung

Blogger Le Anh Hung with banner accusing communist leader Nguyen Phu Trong and Politburo member Hoang Trung Hai of supporting Formosa

Defend the Defenders, October 12, 2018


The Security Investigation Agency of the Police Department in Hanoi have extended the investigation period against local independent blogger Le Anh Hung by two months more, according to his mother Niem.

With the new move, the police from Vietnam’s capital city raised the total investigation period against him to at least five months.

On October 11, Hung was permitted to meet with lawyer Nguyen Van Mieng and next day, the Ho Chi Minh City-based attorney was approved by the Hanoi police to provide legal assistance for Hung.

According to Ms. Niem who recently met Hung in custody, he has denied of cooperating with police during the interrogation since being detained.

She is permitted to meet him once a month in the temporary detention facility No. 2 under the authority of Hanoi’s Police Department

Mr. Hung, 45, was arrested July 5 this year on allegation of “abusing democratic freedom” under Article 331 of the country’s 2015 Penal Code. He is facing imprisonment of up to seven years, if is convicted.

His detention came after he filed his letter 139 times to state agencies to denunciate General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) and Hoang Trung Hai, Politburo member of the party and secretary of the party in the capital city, for cooperating with China and betraying the nation.

Hung is a regular political writer for Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Asia (RFA) as well as British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in their Vietnamese programs. He and former prisoner of conscience Nguyen Vu Binh are the key figures of the Đài Phát thanh Việt Nam (Vietnam Broadcasting Radio), in addition to being member of the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam (IJAVN).

Due to his denunciations against high-profile state officials and participation in peaceful protests against China’s violations of the country’s sovereignty in the South China Sea, he was detained and interrogated many times in recent years.

In late January 2013, he was arrested and sent to a mental clinics but released two weeks later after he and his wife Phuong Anh accused Hoang Trung Hai, then deputy prime minister, ofinvolvementin drug trafficking.

In order to keep the country under a one-party regime, the Vietnamese communist government has intensified crackdown on local dissent. It has arrested and imprisoned over 50 activists in recent years.

Mr. Hung is among 25 activists and bloggers being detained so far this year as Vietnam’s communist regime intensifies crackdown on local dissent.

Hanoi has convicted 38 activists and human rights defenders, mostly on controversial articles in the national security provisions of the Penal Code, sentencing them to a total 287.5 years in prison and 66 years of probation.

In addition, Vietnam has imprisoned more than 60 individuals participating in the mass demonstration in mid-June to protest two bills Special Economic Zones and Cyber Security, giving them a total 121 years and five months in prison and 108 months of probation.

Vietnam is one of the world’s biggest prisons for journalists. At least 10 journalists were behind bars in Vietnam as of December 1, 2017, according to Committee to Protect Journalists.

On October 12, a court in Bac Ninh province sentenced local citizen journalist and anti-corruption activist to five years in prison on allegation of “abusing democratic freedom” after giving him four years in jail for allegation of “disrupting public order” under Article 318 just because he was filming a forced land eviction in his town of Tu Son.