Six Prisoners of Conscience Beaten in Xuan Loc Prison Camp

From left to right: Huynh Duc Thanh Binh, Quoc Bao, Tran Long Phi and Michael Minh Phuong Nguyen


Defend the Defenders, May 14, 2020


Six prisoners of conscience, including Mr. Huynh Duc Thanh Binh were reported to have been beaten by police officers while serving their sentences in Xuan Loc Prison camp in Vietnam’s southern province of Dong Nai.

According to Mr. Binh’s mother, she learned the information from him during her visit to the prison on May 12. She recognized an injury in his face and questioned about it and he told her it was a result of a recent attack of prison guards on him and five other fellows.

Binh said the prison’s authorities allow them to go out for work during weekdays. When he and others asked them to work during the weekend, the authorities did not agree and sent police officers to their cells to beat them.

The mother could not learn the name of the five other beaten prisoners of conscience and when the incident happened because police officers interrupted their conversation and took Binh away.

The mother said she has submitted a complaint to Dong Nai province’s People’s Procuracy as well as the prison’s authorities to clarify the attack as she points out that her son and other prisoners of conscience in Xuan Loc Prison camp are under danger situation.

Mr. Binh, 24, was arrested in July 2018 together with Vietnamese American Michael Minh Phuong Nguyen and Mr. Tran Long Phi. Three of them were convicted of subversion and sentenced to between eight and 12 years in prison for their peaceful activities which aim to promote human rights and multi-party democracy as well as protest China’s violations of the country’s sovereignty in the East Sea (South China Sea).  His father Huynh Duc Thinh was also sentenced to one year in jail.

After convicting local activists under controversial allegations in the National Security provisions of the Criminal Code and sentencing them to lengthy imprisonments, Vietnam’s communist regime continues to persecute them in prisons with severe living conditions across the nation.

They are holding prisoners of conscience in small cells with tiny windows or without windows, so prisoners prefer to be sent out for working even their works are not paid.

In most of the prisons, inmates are forced to do construction works or cashew processing as well as other works without proper protective equipment, and all profits from their works go to the private pockets of prison’s senior officers.

Last week, families of prisoners of conscience in Phan Dang Luu temporary detention facility under the authority of Ho Chi Minh City’s Police Department told Defend the Defenders that jailed activists Ngo Van Dung and Le Quy Loc were beaten by dozens of police officers on April 12 for unknown reasons while they are waiting for their first-instance hearing. After the assault, they transferred Mr. Dung, 51, to Chi Hoa temporary detention facility also under the authority of the city’s police while Mr. Loc, 44, was sent to a hospital for treatment of severe injuries caused by the attack.

Torture is still systemic in Vietnam although the communist parliament ratified the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 2014. Dozens of suspects or prisoners have been killed or being seriously injured in police custody annually.

Former prisoners of conscience have reported that they were often sent to solitary cells after refusing to admit wrongdoings or protesting inhumane treatment in prisons.