Vietnamese Activist Released 79 Months Ahead of 13-Year Term End, Forced to Live in Exile in France

Mr. Dang Xuan Dieu before being arrested in 2011

By Defend the Defenders, January 12, 2017

Vietnam’s authorities have decided to release political dissident Dang Xuan Dieu, who was serving a 13-year jail sentence, 79 months before the official end of his term and forced him into exile in France.

Mr. Dieu, whose term was to end in July 2023, will take a flight to Paris at midnight on January 12, according to local social websites. He will not be allowed by the ruling communist authorities to return to his home country.

He was arrested on July 30, 2011 and later sentenced to 13 years in prison on charges of conducting “activities attempting to overthrow the government” under Article 79 of the country’s Penal Code.

He is a member of a group of Catholic youths who have been accused of being affiliated to the Vietnam Reform Party (Viet Tan), a California-based political party considered as terrorist group by the communist government of Vietnam.

While serving his sentence, Dieu was tortured and inhumanely treated by prison authorities after he refused to recognize that his activities constituted “wrongdoings.” Many international human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, called for his unconditional release.

Dieu is now among the many political dissidents who have been forced to live in exile in foreign countries. A few years ago, Vietnam’s government released Cu Huy Ha Vu, Nguyen Van Hai (aka Dieu Cay) and Ta Phong Tan before the end of their jail terms and forced them into exile in the U.S.

Vietnam has used political dissidents as bargaining chips to earn economic and political benefits from Western countries, said Dr. Vu, a France-trained legal expert.

Vietnam still holds at least 90 prisoners of conscience, according to Amnesty International. Human Rights Watch believes the communist government is currently holding over 130 political prisoners. Hanoi consistenly denies holding any political prisoners, as it says it only detains persons who violated the law.