Black Wednesday: Vietnam Arrests Two More Activists on Allegation of “Conducting Anti-state Propaganda”

Activists arrested on June 24, 2020


Defend the Defenders, June 24, 2020


Vietnam’s persecution against the local dissent on June 24 does not end with the four detentions in Hanoi but continues with two more in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong and the central coastal province of Khanh Hoa, Defend the Defenders has learned.

According to the state-run media, on Wednesday, the security forces in Khanh Hoa arrested Ms. Nguyen Thi Cam Thuy, born in 1976, and charged her with “Making, storing, spreading information, materials, items for the purpose of opposing the State of Socialist Republic of Vietnam” under Article 117 of the Criminal Code.

Newspapers reported that Thuy, a fired teacher due to her political opinion, has used Facebook to distort the ruling communist party and defame its leaders. She was said to burn Vietnam’s national flag and cut portraits of late communist founder President Ho Chi Minh.

Activists also reported that the police in Khanh Hoa arrested Mr. Chi on the same allegation. The 54-year-old Facebooker was accused to use the social platform to conduct live streams to slander the party and its socio-economic policies.

As reported, Vietnam’s security forces arrested former prisoner of conscience Can Thi Theu and two her sons named Trinh Ba Phuong and Trinh Ba Tu as well as human rights defender Nguyen Thi Tam in the early morning of Wednesday. The state-run media reported that Theu, who was sentenced twice to a total 35 months in prison for objecting land grabbing, and her younger son Tu were charged with the accusation under Article 117 while the charge(s) against Phuong and Tam were not publicized.

Like in other political cases, the accused activists will be held incommunicado for at least four months of investigation, during which they will not have access to lawyers and not allowed to meet with their relatives. Their pre-trial detention may be extended to 13 months but in reality, it may last for years. They face imprisonment of between seven and 12 years and even to 20 years if they are convicted.

The state-run media also reported that on June 21, the police in Ho Chi Minh City arrested land petitioner Phan Thi Thanh Hong on the allegation of “causing public disorders” under Article 318 of the Criminal Code due to her efforts to submitting denunciations on her case of land dispute to different state agencies.

With the new arrests today, the number of prisoners of conscience rises to nearly 290 at least, according to Defend the Defenders’s statistics.