Eight Vietnamese Activists Brutally Beaten, Detained While Talking about Human Rights, Democracy

Blogger Tu Anh Tu with injuries caused by Hanoi police officers on April 8
Blogger Tu Anh Tu with injuries caused by Hanoi police officers on April 8

[themify_box style=”blue, announcement, rounded” ]Bloggers Truong Dung, Trung Nghia, Tu Anh Tu, and Thai Van Dung, land petitioner Can Thi Theu and four other people were arrested by plainclothes agents when they, together with dozens of other activists, were sitting in a cafeteria in Lang Ha Street very close to the U.S.’s Embassy.[/themify_box]

By Vu Quoc Ngu, April 8, 2016

Security forces in Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi on April 8 violently suppressed a meeting of local activists, brutally beating and detaining eight of them on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the pro-democracy group Bloc 8406.

Bloggers Truong Dung, Trung Nghia, Tu Minh Tu, and Thai Van Dung, land petitioner Can Thi Theu and four other people were arrested by plainclothes agents when they, together with dozens of other activists, were sitting in a cafeteria in Lang Ha Street very close to the U.S. Embassy.

Witnesses said security agents brutally assaulted Dung, Nghia and Tu before taking them to a bus which went to a police station in Ha Dong district, about ten kilometers from the cafeteria. Police also dispersed other activists.

Many activists and land petitioners gathered outside of the police station to demand for their unconditional and immediate release.

In late afternoon, police released blogger Tu, who suffered a number of serious injuries on his body, including those on his head, face and feet.

Police kept other detainees until mid-night of Friday. The freed activists said police severely beat them and confiscated their cell phones, memory sticks and other electronic devices.

The suppression is made on the Friday when newly-elected Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc submitted his proposals for his cabinet for the next five years to the country’s highest legislative body National Assembly for formal approval. Earlier this week, the rubber-stamp parliament elected Minister of Public Security General Tran Dai Quang as the country’s president.

Many police generals have been promoted to key positions in state and government agencies, including President Quang, Prosecutor General Nguyen Hoa Binh, Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh and Head of the communist party’s Commission for Organization Pham Minh Chinh.

Vietnam’s communist government will continue its harassment against political dissidents, social activists and human rights defenders in a bid to keep the country under a one-party regime amid growing public dissatisfaction on systemic corruption, poor socio-economic management and weak response to China’s violations of the country’s sovereignty, foreign and local observers said.

In the last eight days of March, Vietnam sentenced seven bloggers and dissidents to between two and five years on charges of conducting anti-state activities. Among those jailed are prominent bloggers Nguyen Huu Vinh (aka Anh Ba Sam) and Nguyen Ngoc Gia (Nguyen Dinh Ngoc).

Ten years ago, on April 8, 2006, 118 veteran activists formed a pro-democracy bloc called 8406 which strived to fight for multi-party democracy. Vietnam’s government considers the Bloc 8406 as an anti-state organization and has imprisoned a number of its members, including human rights lawyers Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thi Cong Nhan, Catholic priest Nguyen Van Ly, and Tran Anh Kim.

On December 16 last year, Vietnam arrested human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai and his assistant Le Thu Ha on allegation of anti-state propaganda under Article 88 of the country’s Penal Code. The arrests have drawn domestic and international concerns as many Western governments and human rights urged Vietnam to drop the charges against the duo and release them unconditionally and immediately.