June 16, 2021
A jailed Vietnamese blogger serving an 11-year prison term for writing articles criticizing Vietnam’s government has contracted scabies because of poor hygiene and a lack of access to clean water in his detention facility, the man’s wife told RFA on Tuesday.
Nguyen Tuong Thuy, an independent journalist and former RFA blogger, and many other inmates confined in the Bo La detention center in Binh Duong province have contracted the contagious skin infestation caused by burrowing mites that produces an itchy red rash, said Thuy’s wife, Nguyen Thi Lan.
Thuy informed her of his condition on June 4 when authorities at the An Phuoc detention center in Binh Duong province, to which he had been transferred in mid-April, allowed him to all home, Lan said.
“It’s very itchy after taking a shower as the water there isn’t filtered,” said Lan bout her husband.
Chung Hoang Chuong, a fellow inmate of Thuy’s at An Phuoc detention center who was released last week, said Tuesday that Thuy and other prisoners got scabies at Bo La detention center due to poor hygiene there.
“I met many prisoners transferred from Bo La to An Phuoc detention center, and almost all of them had scabies,” Chuong said.
Though the hygienic conditions are better at An Phuoc detention center, inmates like Thuy who already have scabies do not get better because of a lack of medicine, Chuong said.
“Many complain about the health care services at An Phuoc detention center,” he told RFA. “Those who have scabies are only given anti-itch medications, not the ones specifically for treating scabies.”
Prisoners at the An Phuoc facility have been petitioning for better health care and more time spent out of their cells, Chuong said. T
They have submitted at least two requests for more recreation time, but detention center officials have not yet given their approval, he added.
Thuy, 71, showed signs of poor health and mental decline in the An Phuoc detention center a week after he had been transferred, his wife told RFA in an earlier report.
Despite his health problem and strict detention conditions, Thuy has kept his spirits up and is still strong and stable, Chuong said.
Vietnamese authorities arrested Thuy in May 2020 and indicted that November along with two leaders of the Vietnam Association of Independent Journalists for “making, storing, and disseminating documents and materials for anti-state purposes” under Article 117 of Vietnam’s Penal Code.
After he was sentenced to 11 years in prison in January, Thuy refused to appeal his sentence, tearing up a petition form given to him after prison guards told him what to write on it, Thuy’s lawyer told RFA at the time.