Jailed Female Activist Suffers Many Diseases, Allowed to Meet With Her 3-year-old Daughter For First Time One Year After Being Detained

Ms. Doan Thi Hong in the mass protest in HCM City on June 10, 2018

Defend the Defenders, September 5, 2019


Female pro-democracy activist Doan Thi Hong, who is in pre-detention on allegation of “disruption of security” in Ho Chi Minh City, is suffering from a number of serious diseases, including vestibular disorders, digestive disorders, dermatological diseases, and amblyopia, said her older sister.

Ms. Doan Kim Khanh said her younger sister looks very tired and weak during their second meeting on September 2, more than one year from her detention in September 2018. in the temporary detention facility under the authority of the Police Department in Ho Chi Minh City.

Hong, 36, was permitted to meet with her 3-year-old daughter on September 4, the first meeting since her detention by security forces in Ho Chi Minh on September 2 last year.

Hong is a member of the unregistered group Hien Phap which works to promote civil rights by disseminating the country’s Constitution 2013 among citizens. She was kidnapped by security forces and later was charged with “disruption of security” under Article 118 of the 2015 Penal Code.

During their meeting, Hong told her sister that the investigation is nearly completed. She is likely under pressure of the police from HCM City who demand her not to have her own lawyer in her trial which may be held in coming months, said Ms. Khanh.

Khanh said she has already hired a lawyer for her sister but police in HCM City have yet to allow the lawyer to meet her in the temporary detention facility in Phan Dang Luu street where Hong has been held since September last year.

Other members of the Hien Phap group who were also detained by the police in HCM City last September were also allowed to meet with their families for the first time this week.

One year ago, security forces in HCM City detained other members of the Hien Phap group named Mr. Tran Thanh Phuong, Mr. Ngo Van Dung, Mr. Ho Dinh Cuong, Ms. Tran Thi Ngoc Hanh, Ms. Hoang Thi Thu Vang, and Mr. Do The Hoa. Like Hong, four of them were charged with “disruption of security” while the charges against Hoa and Phuong remain unknown.

Their detentions were made as the police forces were on alert of mass demonstrations on the occasion of the country’s Independence Day (September 2). The group’s members were very active in the demonstrations in HCM City on June 10, 2018 in which tens of thousands of people from different social groups marched streets to protest two bills on Special Economic Zones and Cyber Security. The first one seems to favor Chinese investors while the second aims to silence online government critics.

Vietnam’s communist regime is still holding 29 activists in pre-detention on various charges in national security provisions and “causing public disorders” of the Penal Code for their peaceful activities to promote civil, political and human rights or against systemic corruption as well as China’s violations of the country’s sovereignty in the East Sea (South China Sea).

According to Defend the Defenders’ statistics, Vietnam is holding 242 prisoners of conscience, including 19 activists detained this year. In addition, blogger Le Anh Hung is held in Hanoi-based Central Mental Hospital No. 1 after many months in pre-detention for the allegation of “abusing democratic freedom” for his online posts about several senior communist officials.