Two Anti-corruption Activists Sentenced After Seven Months Being Arrested

Mrs. Dang Thi Hue caught by Soc Son district police on May 20

Defend the Defenders, May 9, 2020


On May 8, the People’s Court of Soc Son district in Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi convicted two anti-corruption activists named Dang Thi Hue and Bui Manh Tien on allegation of “causing public disorders” under Article 318 of the country’s Criminal Code.

Specifically, they were sentenced to 15 months in prison each. Due to her 24-month probation sentence earlier, Ms. Hue has to serve her 42-month imprisonment in the coming years.

They were arrested in mid-October last year when they were trying to block the Bac Thang Long-Noi Bai BOT (build-operating-transfer) toll booth to protest its illegal fee collection. Their acts were simply civil but considered as criminal since the BOT toll booths belong to companies backed by senior state officials.

In May last year, Ms. Hue was beaten by plainclothes policemen of Soc Son district. Due to the assault, she suffered a birth miscarriage.

Hue is among dozens of activists speaking up against fee collecting of wrongly-placed BOT toll booths in many places in Vietnam, including the Bac Thang Long-Noi Bai BOT.

Many anti-BOT activists have been persecuted by plainclothes agents and thugs in recent months. Mr. Ha Van Nam and six others were convicted and sentenced to between 18 months and 36 months on the allegation of “disturbing public orders.”

So far this year, Vietnam’s communist regime has convicted four activists with a total of 11 years and three months of imprisonment and three years of probation. In addition, the regime has arrested seven activists, mostly on allegations in the national security provisions of the Criminal Code, raising the number of prisoners of conscience to 247 at least, according to Defend the Defenders’ latest statistics.