Vietnamese Activists Condemn Inhumane Treatment against Prisoners of Conscience, Demanding for Jail Condition Improvement

Jailed democracy campaigner Nguyen Van Tuc


Defend the Defenders, June 28, 2019


Five Vietnamese independent and non-profit civil society organizations and dozens of activists have signed a joint letter condemning the inhumane treatment against prisoners of conscience and requesting the Vietnamese government to improve jail conditions, Defend the Defenders has learned.

The open letter was released on June 28 and its initiators say they will collect more signatures before sending it to senior Vietnamese leaders and foreign governments as well as international human rights groups in early July.

The letter was made on the 18th day of the hunger strike of four prisoners of conscience named Mr. Truong Minh Duc, Mr. Nguyen Van Tuc, Mr. Dao Quang Thuc and Mr. Tran Phi Dung while serving their lengthy sentences in Prison camp No. 6. The facility, located in Thanh Chuong district, Nghe An province, is under the authority of the Ministry of Public Security.

According to their families, the four jailed activists started their hunger strike on June 10 after the prison’s authorities removed all fans in their cells amid the extremely hot summer in which the temperature is over 40 Celcius degrees for most of the time. The cells for prisoners of conscience were constructed in the way that they are very hot in summer and cold in winter, said former prisoner of conscience Nguyen Van Hai (aka Dieu Cay), who was held in the camp before being released in October 2014.

In the open letter, activists said the move of the authorities in Prison camp 6 mounts to torture and inhumane treatment, violating the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in which Vietnam is a signatory party.

The activists urge Vietnam’s authorities to suspend inhumane treatment against all prisoners of conscience in prison camps across the country, especially Prison camp No. 6, investigate who have committed the violations and bring the responsible before the law.

They also call on the international community to pay attention to prisoners of conscience in Vietnam who are subjects of persecution of the communist regime.

According to Amnesty International, Vietnam is holding 128 prisoners of conscience while Defend the Defenders’ statistics shows that the number is around 220. Hanoi always denies of imprisoning any prisoner of conscience but only law violators.