One year after being arrested, activist Nguyen Thuy Hanh has not been tried

Nguyen Thuy Hanh holds a banner demanding the release of prisoners of conscience in Hanoi in 2016

The Hanoi human rights activist has yet to face trial despite being arrested for a full year.

April 7th marks one year since activist Nguyen Thuy Hanh, founder of the 50k Foundation, was arrested.

She was accused under the charge of “making, storing, distributing or propagating information, documents, and items aimed at opposing the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” under Article 117 of the Penal Code.

It has been 12 months since her arrest, but the activist is still in temporary detention for investigation, the most difficult period for political prisoners.

In an interview with Radio Free Asia, lawyer Nguyen Van Dai, who has been imprisoned twice for political crimes, said the challenges political prisoners face during detention:

For dissidents or opposition activists in Vietnam, they are often arrested for political crimes, for example, article 88 before is now 107, 79 is now 109.

Then, according to the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Law, they prevent attorneys from accessing clients, secondly, not allow to see the family during the investigation process.

So this is a time when they put a lot of pressure on the detainees. It doesn’t matter if the guards treat me according to the law, but they do everything to make them angry, no matter what. From eating raw rice, eating stale rice, stale soup, adding soap to the soup or they use all means to suppress their spirit.

They don’t have a family member to express that to, can’t tell their family member to pass it on to their friends or put it on social media and send it to the international community. So the person being detained during that period is extremely frustrating, very uncomfortable, many people can’t stand it, it can lead to depression.”

According to information from her family, activist Nguyen Thuy Hanh herself suffered from severe depression before her arrest. They were therefore concerned that her condition would worsen under conditions of detention in the detention camp.

Talking to RFA, Huynh Ngoc Chenh, the husband of this activist, said:

“When she was arrested, Ms. Hanh was suffering from severe depression and was being treated by a doctor in Saigon. After a while, the detention camp sent drugs to Ms. Hanh. Recently, I heard that in January, they took Ms. Hanh to a mental hospital for a medical assessment for a month, and then sent her back to the camp. But the investigating agency did not inform the family, only the patient in that hospital knew Ms. Hanh, so she called to inform them that Ms. Hanh was there. The family is completely unaware of how Ms. Hanh’s health is.”

Attorney Nguyen Van Dai said that the investigation agency’s refusal to allow political prisoners to meet their attorneys and relatives during the investigation had no other purpose but to punish these people, he added:

You have to understand the nature of the Communist dictatorship in Vietnam, when they arrest opponents or dissidents, the purpose of depriving freedom is only a part, but the purpose of punishing physically as well as mentally is the main goal.

Because like I said, if they treat me in prison according to their legal purity, let alone better, then I’m not afraid of going to jail.

However, if they want to prevent me from seeing my family, not allowing me to see an attorney to suppress, oppress, and torture me mentally, so that I can finish my prison sentence later, I don’t have enough energy, reasons to nurture ideals and fight for my ideals anymore .”

The case of activist Nguyen Thuy Hanh is not unique in long-term detention, security agencies in Vietnam often prolong detention for cases with political elements.

Vietnamese law allows extending the detention period until the end of the investigation process for cases with particularly serious “national security” elements, which do not have a specific timeline.

International human rights organizations such as Amnesty International have widely condemned this practice, calling it torture.

In addition to setting up a fund of 50K, Ms. Nguyen Thuy Hanh is a self-nominated candidate for the National Assembly in 2016. translated from original source:

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