HCM City Police Summon 13-year-old Daughter of Detained Activist for Interrogation about His Activities

Summoning letter of HCM City’s police asking a student of the secondary school for interrogation about her father


Defend the Defenders, October 26, 2018

The Security Investigation Agency under Ho Chi Minh City’s Police Department have summoned Tran Le Thanh Ha, the 13-year-old daughter of detained activist Tran Thanh Phuong, to police station for interrogation about his activities, Defend the Defenders has learned.

Ha, who is a 8th class student, was requested to go with her mother Le Thi Khanh to the agency’s office on October 15, 45 days after Mr. Phuong was kidnapped by local security forces.

The girl did not obey by the police’s request, saying she knows nothing about her father’s activities.

Mr. Phuong is a member of the unregistered group of activists named Hiến Pháp (Constitution) which is striving to educatepeople abouthuman rights as well as political and civil rights by disseminating Vietnam’s 2013 Constitution among citizens. Its members were key figures in the mass demonstration on June 10 in HCM City which aimed to protest the Vietnamese parliament’s plan to approve two bills on Special Economic Zones and Cyber Security.

In the first week of September, in order to prevent public demonstrations during the three-day holiday on the occasion of the Vietnamese Independence Day (September 2) amid online calls for public gathering, security forces in HCM City arrested and kidnapped many government critics, including nine members of the Hiến Pháp group.

The police in HCM City kidnapped Mr. Phuong on September 1 and took him into custody without informing his family about his arrest and detention. He is held in the temporary detention facility managed by the city’s police located in Phan Dang Luu street. Six other members of the group are also kept in the same facility.

So far, only four members of the group were charged with controversial articles of the national security provisions in the 2015 Penal Code. Two activists Ngo Van Dung and Ho Van Cuong were accused of “disruption of security” under Article 118, Huynh Truong Ca was alleged with “anti-state propaganda” under Article 117 while Le Minh The was said to had abused democratic freedom under Article 331.

Police released Hung Hung but still hold Doan Thi Hong, Tran Hoang Lan, Do The Hoa and Tran Thanh Phuong without publicizing the charges against them.

Meanwhile, local activists reported that the police of Tra Vinh province arrested Dang Van Thanh, 25, who is said to be linked with the to-be-established Vietnam National Coalition. On October 10, the People’s Court of HCM City sentenced democracy campaigners Luu Van Vinh, Nguyen Quoc Hoan, Nguyen Van Duc Do, Tu Cong Nghia and Phan Trung to between eight and 15 years in prison due to their links to the organization.

Vietnam’s communist regime has intensified its relentless crackdown on local dissent which started in early 2016 when the ruling communist party elected its new leadership with many police generals holding senior posts in the party and state aparatuse.

In 2016-2017, Vietnam arrested around 50 activists. So far this year, Hanoi has detained 27 human rights defenders and democracy campaigners and convicted 39 individuals, sentencing them to a total 294.5 years in prison and 66 years of probation.

In addition, hundreds of peaceful demonstrators were beaten, detained and tortured. As many as 56 of them were sentenced to between eight and 54 months in prison due to their participation in the mid-June protest.