Many Activists Brutally Beaten while Visiting PoCs in Hunger Strike in Nghe An

Beaten activist Huynh Ngoc Chenh

Defend the Defenders, July 12, 2019


On July 12, authorities in Vietnam’s central province of Nghe An used police, plainclothes agents and thugs as well as criminal prisoners to attack activists and relatives of prisoners of conscience when they went to Prison camp No. 6 to support the ongoing hunger strike of many prisoners of conscience in the camp.

The assault happened at 2.30 PM of Friday near the main gate of Prison camp No. 6, said Trinh Ba Phuong, whose parents are former prisoners of conscience Trinh Ba Khiem and Can Thi Theu and are victims of the attack.

Phuong said around 20 activists arrived near the prison, their bus was stopped as some trucks were placed to block to the main road leading to the camp. Activists were forced to walk to the facility and the assault started.

Dozens of police officers, plainclothes agents and thugs started to attack the visitors. Among victims are independent journalist Huynh Ngoc Chenh and his wife- activist Nguyen Thuy Hanh, former prisoners of conscience Trinh Ba Khiem and his wife Can Thi Theu, and Hanoi-based activist Truong Van Dung. The victims suffered from many severe injuries on their faces, heads, and bodies.

Beaten activist Nguyen Thuy Hanh

Along with beating, the attackers also grabbed the victims’ cell phones and other belongings, including their wallets with personal documents. They took away professional cameras of Mr. Chenh, who is a freelance photographer.

Later, the attackers forced their victims to go back to their bus and requested the drivers to leave the area.

Delegation of activists visiting Prison camp No. 6 on July 12, 2019

Phuong, who is a land right activists, said police and thugs also attacked Mrs. Nguyen Thi Kim Thanh, wife of prisoner of conscience Truong Minh Duc, former prisoner of conscience Vu Van Hung, and Mrs. Chau, wife of prisoner of conscience Nguyen Ngoc Anh, who was sentenced to eight years in prison after being convicted of “conducting anti-state propaganda” in June. Police grabbed their cell phones and took the wives into a car to Vinh airport, forcing them to leave for Ho Chi Minh City.

Meanwhile, there was no update information about the hunger strike of four prisoners of conscience Nguyen Van Tuc, Dao Quang Thuc, Tran Phi Dung and Truong Minh Duc in the camp. They started their fasting on June 10 to protest the prison’s removal of all electrical fans in their cells amid extreme hot summer in Nghe An.

There is a campaign of Vietnamese activists to support prisoners of conscience who are subjects of torture and inhumane treatment in prison camps across Vietnam. A dozen of independent civil organizations and more than 1,000 activists and ordinary people have signed a joint petition which condemns the Vietnamese regime’s inhumane treatment against prisoners of conscience and request the government to improve living conditions in all prisons.

One of the attackers (Fb Trinh Ba Phuong)

Many other prisoners of conscience in Prison camp No. 5 in Thanh Hoa province and An Diem Prison camp in Quang Nam province are also conducting a hunger strike to protest the inhumane treatment against them.