Acting President of Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam Arrested, Charged with “Conducting Anti-state Propaganda”

Mr. Nguyen Tuong Thuy (second from left, first row) at a meeting with EU Legislators in Hanoi in 2016

Defend the Defenders, May 23, 2020


Vietnam’s security forces have arrested blogger Nguyen Tuong Thuy, the acting president of the unsanctioned Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam (IJAVN), charging him with “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 117 of the country’s Criminal Code.

According to his family, a group of security officers stumped in his private residence in Hanoi, confiscating cell phones of all members of the family, and started to search their house. They took his computers and other personal items and took him away.

The arrest was likely carried out by police officers from Ho Chi Minh City’s Police Department so Mr. Thuy, 68, will be deported to Chi Hoa temporary detention facility under the authority of the city’s police where they are holding Dr. Pham Chi Dung, president of the association who was arrested on November 21, 2019 on the same allegation.

According to the unofficial practice in political cases, Mr. Thuy will be held incommunicado for the next four months for interrogation.

The arrest of Mr. Thuy, as well as the detention of Mr. Dung, aims to target the IJAVN which includes political dissidents and activists in the country and abroad who have strongly criticized the communist regime regarding failures in protecting the country from China’s expansionism, systemic corruption, widespread environmental pollution, human rights violations, social moral degrading and other issues in their articles posted on the IJAVN’s website

Mr. Thuy is a retired army officer. He started his activism in 2011 when he joined other activists in anti-China protests in Hanoi. He has become a vice president of the IJAVN which was established in 2014, and acted as its leader after the arrest of President Dung in November last year. He has been the editor-in-chief of the organization’s website for years.

After the arrest of Mr. Dung, security forces have intensified harassment against IJAVN’s key members. Mr. Thuy had been summoned many times to police stations for interrogation many times in the past months. Like many other activists, he has been placed de facto under house arrest on numerous occasions in recent years.

Vietnam’s communist regime has increased its persecution against the local dissent when the ruling Communist Party is preparing its 13th National Congress slated in January next year.

In recent weeks, security forces have arrested a number of activists, including Mr. Tran Duc Thach on allegation of subversion and Mr. Pham Thanh on the accusation of “conducting anti-state propaganda” for their peaceful activities.

Vietnam is holding at least 249 prisoners of conscience, according to Defend the Defenders’ latest statistics.