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Human rights defender Vu Hung arrested

Status: 
Arrested
About the situation

On 4 January 2018, Vietnamese human rights defender and former prisoner of conscience Vu Hung was arrested in the Thanh Xuan Bac ward, Thanh Xuan district and is being detained in Temporary Detention Center of Thanh Xuan district police. He will be investigated on an allegation of “causing public disorders” under Article 318 of the country’s 2015 Penal Code.

About Vu Hung

hrd_vu_hung.jpgVu Hung is a human rights defender and pro democracy activist who actively participated in the peaceful demonstrations against the deadly Formosa steel plant toxic waste spill in April 2016. The environmental disaster resulted in a large number of fish dying, leaving fishermen and tourism industry workers jobless in four coastal provinces, thereby violating the communities’ human rights to livelihood and an adequate standard of living. Through his work as a human rights defender, Vu Hung engaged in peaceful demonstrations in protest against the violation of these rights as a result of the Formosa steel plant toxic waste spill.

18 January 2018
Vu Hung accused under Article 134 of the Penal Code, will be detained for at least 2 months

On 13 January 2018, police issued the family of human rights defender Vu Hung with written notice confirming that the defender is accused of “intentionally inflicting injury on or causing harm to the health of other persons” under Article 134 of Vietnam’s 2015 Penal code.

Vu Hung is a human rights defender and pro democracy activist who actively participated in the peaceful demonstrations against the deadly Formosa steel plant toxic waste spill in April 2016. If convicted under article 134 for “inflicting injury” he may face between six months and twelve years in prison. He was originally detained to be investigated on an allegation of “causing public disorders” under Article 318 of the country’s 2015 Penal Code which carries a maximum prison sentence of 7 years. No official reason has been given for the change in the accusation, and it is believed that the accusation could be changed again.

In the written notice, the police stated that he will be detained for at least two months in order to investigate the accusation. He is currently being held in the Temporary Detention Facility No.2 managed by Hanoi Police. The person he is accused of injuring as well as the severity of the alleged injury remain unclear.

Front Line Defenders strongly condemns the arrest and arbitrary detention of human rights defender Vu Hung, which it believes is solely motivated by his peaceful and legitimate work for human rights in Vietnam, and calls on the Vietnamese authorities to immediately release the human rights defender.

8 January 2018
Human rights defender Vu Hung arrested

On 4 January 2018, Vietnamese human rights defender and former prisoner of conscience Vu Hung was arrested in the Thanh Xuan Bac ward, Thanh Xuan district and is being detained in Temporary Detention Center of Thanh Xuan district police. He will be investigated on an allegation of “causing public disorders” under Article 318 of the country’s 2015 Penal Code.

Vu Hung is a human rights defender and pro democracy activist who actively participated in the peaceful demonstrations against the deadly Formosa steel plant toxic waste spill in April 2016. The environmental disaster resulted in a large number of fish dying, leaving fishermen and tourism industry workers jobless in four coastal provinces, thereby violating the communities’ human rights to livelihood and an adequate standard of living. Through his work as a human rights defender, Vu Hung engaged in peaceful demonstrations in protest against the violation of these rights as a result of the Formosa steel plant toxic waste spill. In 2008, he was arrested for calling for a multi-party democracy and  was convicted of “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 88 of the 1999 Penal Code. He was sentenced to three years in jail and three years under house arrest.  He is also a member of Brotherhood for Democracy, an independent civil society organisation which uses the Internet to promote human rights and coordinate the efforts of various pro-democracy actors in the country.

On 4 January, Vu Hung went missing at 1:30pm from a restaurant where he was attending a meeting of the Chu Van An Teachers Association in the Thanh Xuan Bac ward. His wife reports that the meeting was disrupted as the owner of the restaurant, under pressure from the police, asked the attendees to leave . His family could not reach him by phone and went in search of him. His wife and son found him at Thanh Xuan district police station, where he had been held since he went missing. On the same day at 10.30 pm, Vu Hung was transferred to the Temporary Detention Center of Thanh Xuan district police. The police informed his wife that the detention will span at least 3 days, however, the family is not allowed to meet him.

Vu Hung reported that he was beaten by plainclothes police officers before his arrest. The police refused to tell him the reason for his arrest but later told his wife that he was arrested due to his involvement in some clash. The specifics of the cause of his arrest or the clash remain unclear and the police refuse to release any details.

Vietnam’s security forces often detain human rights defenders without informing them of the reasons for their arrest and later charge them with controversial articles in the Penal Code. Many defenders are victims of arbitrary detention and criminalisation. Detained human rights defenders also do not have access to lawyers and families and can be denied medical care.

Front Line Defenders strongly condemns the arrest and arbitrary detention of human rights defender Vu Hung, which it believes is solely motivated by his peaceful and legitimate work for human rights in Vietnam, and calls on the Vietnamese authorities to immediately release the human rights defender.