Sentence of Prisoner of Conscience Ngo Hao Suspended for Disease Treatment

Mr. Ngo Hao in his trial in 2013

Defend the Defenders, January 28, 2020


Vietnam’s authorities have decided to suspend the imprisonment of prisoner of conscience Ngo Hao for one year, allowing him to return home for disease treatment, Defend the Defenders has learned.

His family told Defend the Defenders on Monday that Mr. Hao, 72, was permitted to go home on January 9 from An Diem Prison camp in the central province of Quang Nam after seven years of being imprisoned on the allegation of subversion. His eyes are very poor while his blood pressure is very high, his son Ngo Minh Tam told Defend the Defenders.

Tam said he will take his father to Saigon for medical check-up after the Lunar New Year (Tet) festival which ended on January 28.

The move to suspend Mr. Hao’s imprisonment of Vietnam’s authorities was made after years of appeal from him and his family as his health has worsened a long time ago. Probably they do not want to take risks with his case after the deaths of two prisoners of conscience Doan Dinh Nam and Dao Duy Thuc in 2019.

Mr. Hao is a former army officer of the Vietnam Republic’s Army supported by the US during the Vietnam War. He was arrested for the first time in 1997, being accused of being a senior member of the unsanctioned organization Vietnam Coalition Party. However, he was released in the same year due to his poor health.

In 2013, he was arrested again, charged with “attempting to overthrow the communist government” under Article 79 of the 1999 Penal Code. Later, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison by the Phu Yen province’s People’s Court.

Like many prisoners of conscience being held in prison camps and detentions facilities across the nation, Mr. Hao’s health became very poor due to severe living conditions with low-quality food, severe weather conditions, inhumane treatments from prison’s guards and lack of proper medical treatment.

Hundreds of prisoners of conscience have been suffered from severe diseases after spending years in prisons. Last year, two prisoners of conscience Dao Quang Thuc and Doan Dinh Nam who were sentenced to lengthy sentences on subversion died from the Prison camp No. 6 in Nghe An province and Xuyen Moc Prison camp, respectively, due to harsh conditions in prisons.

Last year, dozens of prisoners of conscience conducted hunger strikes to protest inhumane treatment in prisons across the nation.

Vietnam is holding at least 141 prisoners of conscience, according to Defend the Defenders’ latest statistics.