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Tran Thi Nga Arrested

Status: 
Sentenced
About the situation

On 25 July 2017, the People’s Court in Ha Nam, south of Hanoi, sentenced human rights defender Tran Thi Nga to nine years imprisonment followed by an additional 5 years of house arrest. She was charged under Article 88 of the Vietnamese Penal Code for "using the Internet to spread propaganda videos and writings that are against the government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.”

About Tran Thi Nga

Tran Thi NgaTran 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.

21 March 2018
Transferred to prison 1,000km from home

On 21 March 2018, human rights defender Tran Thi Nga’s partner was informed that the human rights defender was transferred to a remote prison over 1,000 kilometers from where she had been previously incarcerated.

Tran Thi Nga is a member of Vietnamese Women For Human Rights. Her human rights work has included providing assistance to victims of land appropriation by local authorities and supporting demonstrations calling for democratic reform. She was sentenced to nine years in prison in July 2017 and five years under house arrest on the charge of “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 88 of the Penal Code.

Tran Thi Nga was supposedly being held in Ha Nam province when her partner was informed that she would be transferred to Dak Trung prison. However, he found out during a visit to Dak Trung prison that the human rights defender had been transferred to Gia Long province, which is over 1,000 km (620 miles) from Ha Nam province. He discovered that she had been transferred a month previously but was not permitted to visit her.

Tran Thi Nga’s supporters have previously expressed concerns for the defender’s health in detention, although authorities have recently assured Tranh Thi Nga’s partner that she is in good health. This is the second time in two weeks that a woman human rights defender has been transferred to a remote prison where visits from family members would prove to be difficult, with potential negative consequences for the defenders’ physical and emotion wellbeing.

Front Line Defenders calls on the Vietnamese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Tran Thi Nga and drop the charges against her, as they solely intend to interfere with her peaceful work promoting human rights. In the interim, Front Line Defenders calls on the Vietnamese officials to return Tran Thi Nga to safe, suitable detention conditions in closer proximity to her family.
 

25 July 2017
Tran Thi Nga sentenced to nine years imprisonment

On 25 July 2017, the People’s Court in Ha Nam, south of Hanoi, sentenced human rights defender Tran Thi Nga to nine years imprisonment followed by an additional 5 years of house arrest. She was charged under Article 88 of the Vietnamese Penal Code for "using the Internet to spread propaganda videos and writings that are against the government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.”

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.

On 25 July 2017, Tran Thi Nga was sentenced to nine years in prison and five years under house arrest on the charge of “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 88 of the Penal Code. Her trial, held in the People’s Court in the southern province of Ha Nam from 8:30am to 5 pm, was closed to independent journalists and foreign diplomats. The defender’s husband and her young children were not allowed to attend the trial, nor were activists who came to the province to support her. A large number of police officers and plainclothes agents were deployed around the court premises, and some supporters reported being physically accosted as they tried to approach the building. Tran Thi Nga was arrested on 21 January 2017 and charged under Article 88 of the 1999 Vietnamese Penal Code for posting articles and videos online in which she condemned human rights violations committed by Vietnamese authorities.

Over the past few months Tran Thi Nga’s state of health has been declining due to a mucosal injury sustained in May 2014 after she was beaten by authorities in reprisal for her work documenting rights’ violations. According to her lawyer, she was denied proper medical treatment while detained in Ha Nam Police Detention Centre.

Article 88 has been widely used against human rights defenders who have highlighted abuses in Vietnam. On 29 June 2017, human rights defender Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh was given a 10 year jail sentence after a one day trial in the People’s Court in Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa province. She was jailed for her work demanding accountability and transparency following the illegal discharge of toxic waste into the sea off the Vietnamese coast in April 2016 by the Formosa Ha Tinh Steel company, a Taiwanese-owned steel plant in Ha Tinh province. The ensuing environmental disaster resulted in the deaths of millions of fish, leaving fishermen jobless in four coastal provinces.

Front Line Defenders strongly condemns the conviction of human rights defender Tran Thi Nga, which it believes is solely motivated by her peaceful and legitimate work for human rights in Vietnam, and calls on the Vietnamese authorities to quash her conviction and immediately release the human rights defender. Front Line Defenders further calls on Vietnamese authorities to ensure that Tran Thi Nga receives all necessary medical treatment.
 

21 June 2017
Ailing HRD refused proper medical treatment while in detention

On 16 June 2017, human rights defender Tran Thi Nga was allowed to meet with her lawyer, Ha Huy Son, in Ha Nam Police Detention Centre in Vietnam’s northern province. According to Ha Huy Son, her health is deteriorating and she has been denied medical treatment for her mucosal injury, sustained in May 2014 after she was beaten for her campaign work. Due to her health worsening, she now cannot eat anything but rice soup.

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.

Tran Thi Nga was arrested on 21 January 2017 and 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.” If convicted, she faces up to 20 years in jail.

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned by the latest deterioration of human rights defender Tran Thi Nga’s state of health and urges the Vietnamese authorities to immediately allow her to receive proper medical treatment. 

12 May 2017
Deterioration of Tran Thi Nga’s health in detention

On 11 May 2017, human rights defender Tran Thi Nga was finally allowed to meet with her lawyer Ha Huy Son at Ha Nam Police Detention Centre, nearly four months after being arrested on charges of anti-state propaganda. Ha Huy Son stated that she is in poor health and is suffering complications from an injury she sustained in May 2014 after being beaten for her campaign work. Tran Thi Nga, also known as Thuy Nga, has not been allowed to meet with her family since her arrest on 21 January 2017. If convicted, she faces up to 20 years in jail.

On 11 May 2017, Tran Thi Nga’s lawyer, Ha Huy Son, was permitted to visit her in Ha Nam Police Detention Centre for the first time since her arrest. He reported that her state of health is declining and that she is suffering complications from a previous injury, caused by a group of men armed with pipes assaulting her in 2014. According to Ha Huy Son, while the detention facility will not allow her family to send medicine to her, she can receive money to buy drugs from the detention centre.

On 21 January 2017, Tran Thi Nga was arrested at her home in Phu Ly city, Ha Nam province. She 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.

Front Line Defenders expresses concern at the decline in Tran Thi Nga’s state of health and urges the Vietnamese authorities to drop all charges brought against her, as it believes they are directly linked to her peaceful and legitimate work in defence of human rights in Vietnam.

23 January 2017
Tran Thi Nga 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.