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Nguyen Van Oai Arrested

Status: 
Sentenced
About the situation

On 18 September 2017, human rights defender Nguyen Van Oai was sentenced to five years in prison and four years under house arrest. He was found guilty of “resisting persons in the performance of their official duties” and “failing to execute judgements” during his probation for a previous sentence related to the defender’s human rights work.

 

About Nguyen Van Oai

nguyen-van-oai.jpgNguyen Van Oai is a Christian activist and citizen journalist who was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment in 2013 for ‘attempting to overthrow the government’. He is  a co-founder of the Association of Catholic Former Prisoners of Conscience. Following his release in 2015, he was placed on administrative probation for four years.

18 September 2017
Nguyen Van Oai sentenced to five years imprisonment and four years house arrest

On 18 September 2017, human rights defender Nguyen Van Oai was sentenced to five years in prison and four years under house arrest. He was found guilty of “resisting persons in the performance of their official duties” and “failing to execute judgements” during his probation for a previous sentence related to the defender’s human rights work.

Nguyen Van Oai is a human rights defender, a citizen journalist and the co-founder of the Association of Catholic Former Prisoners of Conscience. In 2013, he was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for “attempting to overthrow the government”. Following his release in 2015, he was placed on administrative probation for four years.

On 18 September 2017, the People’s Court in Hoang Mai town, Nghe An province, found Nguyen Van Oai guilty of “resisting persons in the performance of their official duties” under Article 257 and “failing to execute judgements” under Article 304 of the Vietnamese Penal Code. He was sentenced to three years in prison for the first charge and two years for the second charge, and was also handed a sentence of four years of house arrest. The relatives of Nguyen Van Oai as well as international observers sent by diplomatic missions were not permitted to enter the courtroom, despite an announcement by the authorities that the hearing would be a “public trial”. Outside  the courthouse, police deployed trucks with jamming devices to block cellular service.

On 19 January 2017, the defender was arrested while on probation in Nghe An province and charged under Articles 257(1) and 304 of the Penal Code. Nguyen Van Oai was accused of resisting on-duty state officials during his arrest and breaching the terms of his administrative probation by leaving his locality without first informing the local authorities. The human rights defender was on administrative probation in connection with a previous sentence for “attempting to overthrow the government”, a charge related to his human rights activities including his   journalism and participation in peaceful demonstrations.

Front Line Defenders strongly condemns the conviction of human rights defender Nguyen Van Oai, which it believes is solely motivated by his peaceful and legitimate work for human rights in Vietnam, and calls on the Vietnamese authorities to quash his conviction and immediately release the human rights defender.

16 August 2017
Nguyen Van Oai’s trial scheduled for 21 August

On 9 August 2017, Nguyen Van Oai’s lawyer announced that he would be tried on 21 August 2017 by the People’s Court in the Hoang Mai town, Vietnam’s central province of Nghe An. The human rights defender is charged under Articles 257 and 304 of Vietnam’s criminal code, which carry up to six years imprisonment.

Nguyen Van Oai is a Christian activist and citizen journalist who was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment in 2013 for “attempting to overthrow the government”. He is a co-founder of the Association of Catholic Former Prisoners of Conscience. Following his release in 2015, he was placed on administrative probation for four years.

On 9 August 2017, human rights lawyer Ha Huy Son announced on his Facebook page that the People’s Court in Hoang Mai would hold the trial of his client Nguyen Van Oai on 21 August 2017. On 19 January 2017, the defender was arrested in Nghe An province and charged with “resisting persons in the performance of their official duties” under Article 257(1) and “failing to execute judgements” under Article 304 of the country’s 1999 Penal Code. Nguyen Van Oai is accused of resisting on-duty state officials during his arrest and breaching the terms of his administrative probation by leaving his locality without first informing the local authorities. Nguyen Van Oai faces a total of six years imprisonment.

Front Line Defenders urges the Vietnamese authorities to drop all charges against human rights defender Nguyen Van Oai as it is believed that they are solely motivated by his legitimate and peaceful work for human rights in Vietnam.

23 January 2017
Nguyen Van Oai Arrested

On 21 January 2017 human rights defender Ms Tran Thi Nga was arrested in Ha Nam province on charges of anti-state propaganda. Two days earlier, fellow human rights defender Mr Nguyen Van Oai was arrested in Nghe An province on charges of ‘resisting officials on duty’ and violating his probation.

Download the Urgent Appeal (PDF)

Tran Thi Nga is a member of Vietnamese Women For Human Rights, a group that includes overseas Vietnamese wishing to lend support, training, and encouragement to those who stand up to defend human rights in Vietnam. She has also assisted those whose land has been confiscated by local authorities and has demonstrated in support of democratic reform. She has been targeted a number of times because of her human rights work and in 2015 she was beaten by policemen for celebrating the release of another human rights defender from jail.

Nguyen Van Oai is a Christian activist and citizen journalist who was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment in 2013 for ‘attempting to overthrow the government’. He is  a co-founder of the Association of Catholic Former Prisoners of Conscience. Following his release in 2015, he was placed on administrative probation for four years.
 
On 21 January Tran Thi Nga and her husband, Phan Van Phong, were arrested at their home in Phu Ly city, Ha Nam province. Tran Thi Nga was charged under Article 88 of the Vietnamese penal code for "using the internet to spread some propaganda videos and writings that are against the government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.” In the days prior to her arrest, Tran Thi Nga had complained of increasing intimidation and harassment against her by the police, including their surrounding of her home and physically blocking her from leaving. Police also prevented a neighbour from taking the couple’s two young sons to the city to buy them food.

At around 10pm on 19 January Nguyen Van Oai was intercepted and detained by a group of unidentified men, later identified as police officers, as he returned from a day’s fishing near Hoang Mai commune, Nghe An province.  He was charged with resisting on-duty state officials after being accused of breaking the terms of his probation by leaving his locality without first informing the local authorities. It is unclear where he is currently being detained.

Front Line Defenders is gravely concerned at the arrests of Tran Thi Nga and Nguyen Van Oai which it believes are solely motivated by their legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights in Vietnam.

Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Vietnam to:

1. Immediately and unconditionally release Tran Thi Nga and Nguyen Van Oai, as Front Line Defenders believes that they are being held solely as a result of thier legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights;

2. Immediately drop all charges against Tran Thi Nga and Nguyen Van Oai;

3. Ensure that the treatment of Tran Thi Nga and Nguyen Van Oai, while in detention, adheres to the conditions set out in the ‘Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment', adopted by UN General Assembly resolution 43/173 of 9 December 1988;

4. Allow Tran Thi Nga and Nguyen Van Oai immediate and unfettered access to their lawyers;

5. Cease targeting all human rights defenders in Vietnam and guarantee in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.