Take Action for Tran Minh Nhat
On 22 February 2016, human rights defender Mr Tran Minh Nhat was attacked by a police officer at his house in Lam Ha district, Lam Dong Province, and subsequently prevented by police from travelling to hospital to receive medical assistance.
Tran Minh Nhat is a human rights defender involved in the promotion and protection of economic, social and cultural rights in Vietnam. He is also a reporter for Vietnam Redemptorist News and has reported on trials of human rights defenders and activists in Vietnam. On 28 August 2015, he was released having served four years' imprisonment for “carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people's administration”, a crime under Article 79 of the Vietnamese Penal Code.
On 22 February 2016, a police officer from the Lam Ha district came to the house of Tran Minh Nhat. He called the human rights defender to come outside and then suddenly threw a rock at him, causing a severe head injury. While travelling to hospital thereafter, Tran Minh Nhat's motorcycle was stopped by five police officers, who began to threaten the human rights defender and refused to let him continue onwards to receive medical help at the hospital. The incident marks the seventh instance of harassment of Tran Minh Nhat by police officers from the Lam Ha district in just over a month.
On 13 February 2016, stones were thrown into Tran Minh Nhat's house by several masked men. On the same day, the human rights defender's elder brother was stopped by five Lam Ha police officers who threatened to attack him and promised to burn down his house.
On 12 February 2016, chemicals were sprayed around Tran Minh Nhat's house and the house of his neighbour, causing headaches, nausea and vomiting for the inhabitants, and resulting in the death of poultry raised by the human rights defender.
On 10 February 2016, in the middle of the night, fire was set to dry coffee plants adjacent to Tran Minh Nhat's house. The fire was of such a size that it required eight people and over four hours to contain it.
Following the release of Tran Minh Nhat from prison on 28 August 2015, the human rights defender, his family and friends have been continuously threatened and harassed by Lam Ha police officers. They have suffered the destruction of their crops, break-ins at their properties, deliberate damage to their irrigation equipment, and the stoning of their homes. During this period, the house of Tran Minh Nhat has been kept under surveillance. Human rights defenders who have visited Tran Minh Nhat after his release have occasionally been beaten by police officers.
I am gravely concerned about the harassment of Tran Minh Nhat and members of his family, which I believe to be directly linked to the peaceful and legitimate work of the human rights defender in defence of economic, social and cultural rights in the Lam Dong Province.
I urge the authorities in Vietnam to:
1. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the attack on human rights defender Tran Minh Nhat, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;
2. Ensure unrestricted access for Tran Minh Nhat's to any necessary medical treatment resulting from the attack upon him;
3. Immediately cease all harassment of Tran Minh Nhat, as I believe that it is directly linked to his legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights in Vietnam;
4. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Vietnam are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.