HCM City Police Still Want to Interrogate Wife and Daughter of Arbitrarily-detained Activist Tran Thanh Phuong


Defend the Defenders, December 05, 2018

Security officers of Ho Chi Minh City’s Police Department are still striving to interrogate the wife and the older daughter of democracy activist Tran Thanh Phuong, who was arbitrarily detained by the city’s police in early September this year.

Mrs. Le Khanh has informed Defend the Defenders that she and her daughter are targetted by the city’s police who are willing to summon them for questioning about activities of her husband. Mr. Phuong is still held incommunicado by the city’s police since his detention on September 2.

On December 3, when she went to the city police’s Temporary detention facility where her husband is held to provide him with food, investigation officers told her that they were willing to ask her about her husband’s activities.

Police officers also told her that they will summon her daughter Tran Le Thanh Hato a police station for the same purpose. Her daughter is only 13 years old. In mid October, police sent a summoning letter to request the kid to go to a local police station for interrogation about her father, however, she did not obey by the police’s request.

Mr. Phuong is a member of the unregistered group of activists named Hiến Pháp (Constitution) which is striving to educatepeople abouthuman rights as well as political and civil rights by disseminating Vietnam’s 2013 Constitution among citizens. Its members were key figures in the mass demonstration on June 10 in HCM City which aimed to protest the Vietnamese parliament’s plan to approve two bills on Special Economic Zones and Cyber Security.

In the first week of September, in order to prevent public demonstrations during the three-day holiday on the occasion of the Vietnamese Independence Day (September 2) amid online calls for public gathering, security forces in HCM City arrested and kidnapped many government critics, including nine members of the Hiến Pháp group.

The police in HCM City kidnapped Mr. Phuong and took him into custody without informing his family about his arrest and detention. Six other members of the group are also kept in the same facility.

So far, only four members of the group were charged with controversial articles of the national security provisions in the 2015 Penal Code. Two activists Ngo Van Dung and Ho Van Cuong were accused of “disruption of security” under Article 118, Huynh Truong Ca was alleged with “anti-state propaganda” under Article 117 while Le Minh The was said to had abused democratic freedom under Article 331.

Police released Hung Hung but still hold Doan Thi Hong, Tran Hoang Lan, Do The Hoa and Tran Thanh Phuong without announcingformalcharges against them.

Vietnam’s communist regime has intensified its relentless crackdown on local dissent which started in early 2016 when the ruling communist party elected its new leadership with many police generals holding senior posts in the party and state apparatuses.

In 2016-2017, Vietnam arrested around 50 activists. So far this year, Hanoi has detained 27 human rights defenders and democracy campaigners and convicted 39 individuals, sentencing them to a total 294.5 years in prison and 66 years of probation.

In addition, hundreds of peaceful demonstrators were beaten, detained and tortured. Around 90 of them were sentenced to between eight and 60 months in prison due to their participation in the mid-June protest.