Jailed Pro-democracy Activist Nguyen Ngoc Anh Threatened with Death While Waiting for Appeal

Pro-democracy activist Nguyen Ngoc Anh

Defend the Defenders, September 6, 2019


Jailed pro-democracy activist Nguyen Ngoc Anh, who was convicted of “conducting anti-state propaganda” in June, is under death threat while being held in a temporary detention center under the Police Department of Ben Tre province, his wife has informed Defend the Defenders.

During a regular meeting with his wife Chau on September 6, Mr. Anh told her that the prison’s authorities are using criminals to beat him and threaten to kill him.

He is under continuous physical and mental torture of several inmates with whom police officers have promised to grant amnesty or reduce their sentences for their dirty works, Chau said, adding the prison’s guards take no serious actions to halt the torture against him.

The prison’s authorities are trying to isolate Anh, not allowing other inmates to contact with him, she noted. Police officers confiscated his items and still hold them although he has filled petitions demanding them to return.

Anh told his wife that he may be killed every moment so she should be ready for that. He also said there is serious maltreatment against other individuals, including constant interrogation. One taken to the facility on August 19 committed suicide after being continuously questioned for several days while another was beaten so badly that he hardly eats and the physical and mental torture against them were acts of revenge for their sympathy to Anh or contact with him.

Anh told his wife that he has appealed the sentence given by the People’s Court of Ben Tre province in the trial on June 6 in which he was sentenced to six years in prison and five years of probation. He had no lawyer in the first-instance hearing and Chau has hired a lawyer for him for the appeal hearing, however, his lawyer has not been allowed to meet with him for preparing his defense.

Anh said he would request to stop the appeal hearing if they don’t permit him to contact with his attorney.

Mr. Anh, a 39-year-old shrimp grower in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre, was arrested on August 30, 2018 for his posts on his Facebook account Nguyễn Ngọc Ánh in which he speaks out about human rights violations, systemic environmental pollution, bad economic management of Vietnam’s communist government, China’s violations of the country’s sovereignty in the East Sea (South China Sea) and Vietnam’s weak response.

He is listed as one of 128 prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International and a political prisoner by Human Rights Watch.

Due to the inhumane treatment of Ben Tre province’s police, he is suffering from a number of diseases, including sinusitis and bone soreness. Police ignored his request for medical treatment and not allowed his wife to send medicines for him.