Many Activists Summoned for Interrogation about Brotherhood for Democracy

Activist Truong Van Dung was beaten many times by pro-government thugs and plainclothes agents in the past few years

Defend the Defenders, November 9, 2017

The Investigation Agency under the Hanoi Police Department have summoned many local activists in relations with the Brotherhood for Democracy, the main target of the Vietnamese ongoing crackdown against local dissidents, human rights defenders, social activists and online bloggers.

On November 08, the agency issued a written letter requesting blogger Truong Van Dung to come to the agency headquarters in the city on the next day to work on a subversion case. Mr. Dung is one of most active figures in numerous peaceful demonstrations protesting China’s violations of the country’s sovereignty in the East Sea (South China Sea) and corruption as well as human rights violations in the country.

One day later, the agency summoned independent journalist Le Anh Hung and former prisoner of conscience Vu Van Hung. The first is anti-corruption fighter while the second was jailed three years in 2008-2010 for allegation of anti-state propaganda.

Police in other localities have also summoned local activists in a bid to question them about the Brotherhood for Democracy, an online organization established by prominent human rights attorney Nguyen Van Dai who was detained in late 2015 with initial charge of “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 88 of the 1999 Penal Code but later added with subversion under Article 79 of the law.

In late October, police interrogated former prisoner of conscience Nguyen Xuan Nghia and independent Khuc Thua Son for days, also about the Brotherhood for Democracy.

So far, the Brotherhood for Democracy has eight key members detained and accused of subversion, namely Nguyen Van Dai, Le Thu Ha, Nguyen Trung Ton, Pham Van Troi, Truong Minh Duc, Nguyen Van Tuc, Nguyen Trung Truc, and Tran Thi Xuan. Co-founder of the organization Nguyen Bac Truyen, who left it long time ago, was also detained and charged with the same allegation.

Activist Le Dinh Luong from the central province of Nghe An, and Dao Quang Thuc from the northern province of Hoa Binh were also probed for subversion. The punishment for subversion may be up to life imprisonment or death penalty, according to the current law.

Vietnam has arrested 20 activists so far this year and still holds around ten detainees in pre-trial detention from last year. Most of them were charged with controversial articles 79 and 88 of the national security provision of the Penal Code.

The communist government has also imprisoned three bloggers Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, Tran Thi Nga and Nguyen Van Oai with respective sentences of ten years, nine years and five years in prison. In addition, Nga has to serve five years under house arrest and Hoa- four years afterward.