Statement of Vietnam Human Rights Network and Defend the Defenders on prisoner of conscience Tran Huynh Duy Thuc

Press release, December 8, 2020


Prisoner of conscience Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, who is serving a 16-year prison term at Prison camp No. 6 (Thanh Chuong district, Nghe An province) for fraudulent allegation “activities aimed at overthrowing the People’s administration” under Article 79 of Vietnam’s Penal Code 1999, has been conducting a hunger strike since November 24. Thuc declared to go on the hunger strike until the Supreme People’s Court and the government legal agencies reconsider his verdict.

In 2018, the Criminal Code 2015 officially took effect, replacing the Penal Code 1999. According to Articles 7 and Article 109 of the new code, the crime of “Preparing to commit this crime [activities to overthrow the human government people] shall be sentenced to between 01 and 05 years’ imprisonment.” This is the basis for Mr. Tran Huynh Duy Thuc to pursuit an appeal from July 2018 asking the authorities to release him after he has continuously served his sentence from 2010.

Vietnam Human Rights Network and Defend the Defenders declare that:

  1. Mr. Tran Huynh Duy Thuc is completely innocent; his activities were solely aimed at exercising his basic rights guaranteed by the international human rights conventions that the Vietnamese communist government has signed and ratified.
  2. The Vietnamese communist authorities did not respect the international human rights treaties, the country’s Constitution 2013, and the Criminal Code 2015.

So we request the Vietnamese communist regime to:

  1. Review Mr. Tran Huynh Duy Thuc’s appeal immediately and notify him to stop a hunger strike to save his own life.
  2. Release Mr. Tran Huynh Duy Thuc immediately and unconditionally as well as compensate him for the years he was held from 2018 up to now.
  3. Improve living conditions of detained prisoners, especially prisoners of conscience, according to the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Nelson Mandela Rules).
  4. Release all prisoners of conscience, and guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Vietnam are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.

Vietnam Human Rights Network and Defend the Defenders call upon Vietnam’s civil society and individuals as well as the international community to speak up about the case of Mr. Tran Huynh Duy Thuc and other prisoners of conscience so that justice can be realized in Vietnam.

End of the statement.

On behalf of the Vietnam Human Rights Network: President, Tung B Nguyen, DPA

On behalf of Defend the Defenders: President, Ngu Q Vu, MSc