Joint Statement of Vietnam Human Rights Network and Defend the Defenders on Arrest of Activist Pham Doan Trang

October 7, 2020

For immediate release

Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security has informed that in the late night of October 6, 2020, the Hanoi police arrested Ms. Pham Doan Trang at her rent apartment in Ho Chi Minh City on charges of “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 88 of Vietnam’s 1999 Penal Code and Article 117 of 2015 Criminal Code.

Activist Pham Doan Trang is one of the leading Vietnamese activists who have advocated and struggled for human rights, democracy and the environment for many years. She is an excellent political writer with many works, such as Chính trị Bình dân (Politics for the Common People), Phản kháng Phi bạo lực (Non-violent Resistance), Politics of Police State, and Cẩm nang Nuôi tù (Handbook for Prisoners’ Families), etc. She is also an editor of several websites aimed at raising citizen awareness such as the or the Vietnam Legal Initiatives.

She has repeatedly stated that she fights peacefully to abolish the communist dictatorship in Vietnam.

In recent years, Ms. Pham Doan Trang has been under various forms of repression by the Vietnamese security forces, such as arrest for torture, beatings to the point of disability, and restriction of freedom of movement, etc. She was forced to move from one place to another for more than 50 times in the past three years as the Vietnamese communist security forces are chasing her.

She will likely be held incommunicado for a period of at least 4 months of investigation, and she will not be permitted to meet with her relatives and lawyers, like other activists arrested on allegations in the National Security provisions of the Criminal Code.

 Vietnam Human Rights Network and Defend the Defenders believe that Pham Doan Trang is a peaceful activist working to promote democracy and human rights in Vietnam. She only exercises the rights enshrined in Vietnam’s Constitution 2013 and international human rights treaties that the Vietnamese communist government has signed.

Activist Pham Doan Trang

Therefore, we demand the Vietnamese communist authorities

– Immediately and unconditionally free Ms. Pham Doan Trang and drop all the charges against her;

– Permit her to contact with her lawyers and relatives, ensuring she was not physically and mentally tortured and treated inhumanely while she is in police custody;

– Ensure freedom of speech and other basic human rights, implement international human rights commitments signed by the Vietnamese communist government, and release all the activists who are charged with or convicted of the controversial charges under the National Security provisions of the Criminal Code.

We call on the Vietnamese people and the international community to condemn the Vietnamese communist government’s repression of dissidents, social activists, and human rights defenders, and demand that Hanoi free them immediately and unconditionally.

End of the statement

On behalf of the Vietnam Human Rights Network: Head of the Executive Board, Nguyen Ba Tung, DPA

On behalf of the Human Rights Defender: President, MSc Vu Quoc Ngu.


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