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Allegations of torture and forced confession concerning wrongly imprisoned HRD Nguyen Viet Dung

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Tortured
About the situation

On 16 August 2018, at the hearing of Vietnamese human rights defender Le Dinh Luong, Vietnamese human rights defenders Nguyen Viet Dung and Nguyen Van Hoa (Vietnamese: Nguyễn Viết Dũng, Nguyễn Văn Hóa) informed the presiding Judge that their written confessions against Le Dinh Luong had been obtained through torture.

About Nguyen Viet Dung

Nguyen Viet DungNguyen Viet Dung is a pro-democracy activist and environmental rights defender. He has campaigned for greater governmental accountability in Vietnam and participated in political protests. He also participated in multiple protests in the aftermath of the Formosa toxic waste spill in 2016, which seriously affected the rights of fishermen and others in the region and cost thousands of people their livelihoods along the central coast of Vietnam. Nguyen Viet Dung has previously campaigned for the freedom of fellow human rights defenders Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thu Ha.

21 August 2018
Allegations of torture and forced confession concerning wrongly imprisoned HRD Nguyen Viet Dung

On 16 August 2018, at the hearing of Vietnamese human rights defender Le Dinh Luong, Vietnamese human rights defenders Nguyen Viet Dung and Nguyen Van Hoa (Vietnamese: Nguyễn Viết Dũng, Nguyễn Văn Hóa) informed the presiding Judge that their written confessions against Le Dinh Luong had been obtained through torture.

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Đọc hoặc tải về phiên bản tiếng Việt

Nguyen Viet Dung is a pro-democracy activist and environmental rights defender. He has campaigned for greater governmental accountability in Vietnam and participated in political protests. He also participated in multiple protests in the aftermath of the Formosa toxic waste spill in 2016, which seriously affected the rights of fishermen and others in the region and cost thousands of people their livelihoods along the central coast of Vietnam. Nguyen Viet Dung has previously campaigned for the freedom of fellow human rights defenders Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thu Ha.

Nguyen Van Hoa is a blogger, activist and IT trainer from Vietnam. He also reports for Radio Free Asia, a media organisation which champions freedom of expression and provides independent news and information to Asian countries in which governments prohibit access to free press. In 2016, the human rights defender shared information online through photos, videos and articles about the Taiwan-owned Formosa Plastics Group’s toxic chemical spill in Ha Tinh Province, Vietnam, one of the country’s worst environmental disasters. He was sentenced to seven years in prison in November 2017.

On 16 August 2018, the People’s Court of Nghe An province tried human rights defender Le Dinh Luong on charges of membership in the US-based Vietnamese organisation Vietnam Reform Party (Viet Tan), a pro-democracy group which Vietnamese authorities consider to be a terrorist organisation. Among the evidence cited was a signed statement by Nguyen Viet Dung and Nguyen Van Hoa, which stated that Le Dinh Luong had been present at Nguyen Van Hoa’s official induction into the organisation. During their address before the court, both Nguyen Viet Dung and Nguyen Van Hoa informed the judge that the confession had been extracted through torture. Following this announcement, the two defenders were forcibly removed from the courtroom back to their places of detention. When Le Dinh Luong’s lawyers asked to meet the defenders for further questioning, police informed the lawyers that the defenders were ill and unfit for questioning. On 21 August, detention facility officers refused to allow Nguyen Viet Dung’s father to see his son, on the basis that he had failed to cooperate with authorities at the trial of Le Dinh Luong.

On 27 September 2017, Nguyen Viet Dung was arrested for disseminating anti-state propaganda under Article 88 of the 1999 Vietnamese Penal Code. According to the police, he was charged with posting ”anti-state propaganda” on his Facebook account that distorted state and party policies and defamed state leaders. On 12 April 2018, a provincial court of Nghe An found him guilty and sentenced him to seven years’ imprisonment. Following an appeal hearing on 15 August 2018, the People’s Court of Nghe An province reduced this sentence to six years in prison followed by five years of house arrest.

Front Line Defenders demands that Vietnamese authorities conduct an impartial, immediate and thorough investigation into the torture allegations of Nguyen Viet Dung and Nguyen Van Hoa, as well as grant them full access to their families and legal representation. Front Line Defenders believes that the imprisonment and mistreatment of Nguyen Viet Dung and Nguyen Van Hoa is an attempt to disrupt their and others’ work promoting democratic reform and propagation of human rights in Vietnam.