Prominent Prisoner of Conscience Tran Huynh Duy Thuc Ends Hunger Strike after 70 Days Fasting, Female Activist Dinh Thi Thu Thuy Hospitalized Right after Being Convicted

Ms. Dinh Thi Thu Thuy arrested by police on April 20, 2020 (Tuoi Tre)

Defend the Defenders, February 5, 2021


Prominent prisoner of conscience Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, who is serving his 16-year imprisonment in Prison camp No. 6 in the central province of Nghe An, has ended his lengthy hunger strike while jailed female activist Dinh Thi Thu Thuy, who was sentenced to seven years on January 20, has been admitted to a hospital in the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang for urgent medical treatment, Defend the Defenders has learned.

Mr. Thuc started receiving food on February 3 after 70 days of fasting beginning on November 24 last year, according to his family. In his phone call to his family earlier this week, he informed his relatives that he has taken small volume of milk since last week so he has recovered very fast and his health is relatively good now.

The 55-year-old democracy campaigner and human rights activist was arrested in 2010 on the allegation of subversion. He later was sentenced to 16 years in prison. Since 2018, he has petitioned that for preparation of anti-state activities, he should be imprisoned up to 5 years according to the Criminal Code which became effective on January 1, 2018. However, the communist regime remains silent to his petition, forcing him to conduct a number of hunger strike which aims to request the regime to respect the country’s law in his case.

During a conversation with his family, Thuc said he ended his hunger strike after gaining his own goal. He vows to continue his legal battle to fight for his freedom.

Meanwhile, Ms. Thuy, a 39-year-old single mother, fell in very bad health situation in late January while being held in a temporary detention center under the authority of the Hau Giang Police Department. She has suffered from vestibular balance disorder, heart valve regurgitation, and severe insomnia, partly due to severe living conditions in the detention facility, according to her family.

Thuy was taken to a hospital in Hau Giang province for urgent treatment. She is under close police surveillance but still allowed to meet with her son and relatives.

It seems that Ms. Thuy will not appeal her sentence given by the People’s Court of Hau Giang province at the show trial on January 20. Like prominent independent journalists Pham Chi Dung and Nguyen Tuong Thuy who were convicted of “conducting anti-state propaganda” by the People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh on the show first-instance hearing on January 5, she has lost her belief in having a fair trial in Vietnam so she considers appeal useless.

She told her relatives that being held in the detention facility makes her crazy due to inhumane treatment and poor living conditions there, and she wants to be transferred to a prison camp where she may be better treated.

Vietnam is holding at least 256 prisoners of conscience in critical living conditions and inhumane treatment, according to Defend the Defenders’ statistics.