Anti-corruption Activist Tran Dinh Sang Convicted, Sentenced to Two Years in Prison

Anti-corruption activist Tran Dinh Sang

Defend the Defenders, September 22, 2019


Authorities in Vietnam’s northern province of Yen Bai have convicted a local anti-corruption activist named Tran Dinh Sang of “Resisting a law enforcement officer in performance of his/her official duties” under Article 330 in the country’s 2015 Penal Code in a trumped-up case, state media has reported.

In the first-instance hearing on September 18, the People’s Court of Yen Bai City found the 39-year-old anti-corruption fighter guilty and sentenced him to two years in jail for his attempt to unveil local traffic police’s bribery case.

Mr. Sang was arrested in his private residence in Yen Bai city in early morning of April 9. Police also conducted search of his house. Three weeks earlier, in the evening of March 23, when a patrol unit of the Yen Bai city’s Mobile police was carrying out regular traffic check and imposing administrative fine on traffic violators, Sang stopped his car and filmed the police’s activities because he suspected that the police team took bribery from traffic violators. The two sides held quarrel as the policemen requested Sang to stop filming while Sang insisted that he has a right to observe and witness the police’s activities as a citizen.

The police patrol unit reported that Sang tried to attack one of police officers, however, no solid evidence was shown by the police side.

According to Sang’s post on his Facebook, he wanted to supervise the activities of the mobile police’s unit as a citizen. The policemen tried to take his camera and he resisted. Later, police took him to a police station where he was beaten brutally by police officers. He was left to go home in mid night with broken ribs and other severe injuries on his body.

Mr. Sang is one of Facebookers covering bribery of traffic police and activities against corruption related to the arbitrary placement of toll booths on national highways on his account “Tran Dinh Sang and his friends.”

A number of his fellows have been harassed and persecuted in recent months amid increasing public disatisfaction on systemic corruption, especially in traffic police forces, and the arbitrary placement of tens of toll booths on national highways across the nation.

In early March, Ha Van Nam, one of the most active figures against the fee collection of wrongly-placed toll booths, was arrested and charged with “causing public disorders,” two weeks after being kidnapped and brutally beaten by undercove policemen. In July, he and six others fellows were sentenced to between 18 months and 36 months in prison.

Vietnam’s communist regime verbally encourages citizens to take part in anti-corruption campaign, however, numerous activists have been imprisoned or intimidated after denouncing state officials of taking bribery or stealing state properties.

Sang has been the 8th Vietnamese Facebooker being arrested and charged with criminal offenses so far this year, according to Defend the Defenders’ statistics.

Since the beginning of this year, Vietnam’s communist regime has jailed 23 activists with a total 106 years and six months. Currently, the regime is holding 233 prisoners of conscience, said Defend the Defenders.