Procuracy requests additional investigation against activist Tran Bang

Activist Tran Bang

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Procuracy has returned the case file of “conducting propaganda against the State” against activist Tran Van Bang (aka Tran Bang) and requested an additional investigation within two months. This decision was made on November 18.

The above information was announced by two of Mr. Bang’s lawyers, Nguyen Van Mieng and Dang Dinh Manh, on their personal Facebook page on December 10.

Accordingly, on September 22, more than six months after Mr. Bang’s arrest on charges of “making, storing, disseminating or propagating information, documents and items aimed at opposing the State” under Article 117 of Vietnam’s Criminal Code, Security Investigation Agency of the HCM City’s Police issued a 33-page investigation conclusion proposing the Procuracy to prosecute him under Clause 1 of Article 117 with a penalty of between 5 years and 12 years in prison.

The investigation concluded that Mr. Bang had 31 articles with anti-regime content posted on three Facebook pages between March 2016 and August 2021.

The two lawyers said on their personal Facebook that the Procuracy did not agree with the prosecution’s proposal from the police and made a decision for the defense lawyers to participate in the proceedings after the end of the additional investigation.

Lawyer Dang Dinh Manh, representing Mr. Bang, told the RFA reporter by phone on the evening of December 12 that the lawyers had not received any specific notice on what content the Procuracy proposed to supplement and Bang’s lawyers will have to wait until the final additional investigation results to know.

Mr. Bang, 61, was arrested on March 1 of this year. He is currently detained at Temporary detention center at No. 4 Phan Dang Luu street, Binh Thanh District, of the city police.

He was allowed to see his lawyer in October and relatives in November. However, in December, when his family visited him, he was denied. One of his sibblings (who did not wish to be named) told Radio Free Asia (RFA) the following:

In early December, our family visited Mr. Bang, but after completing the necessary administrative procedures, the temporary detention center’s staff reported to their superiors and came back to say that we could not see him during the additional investigation period because of the need to protect investigative secrecy.”

We received information about the additional investigation from the lawyer, but the police did not notify the family,” this person said.

Mr. Bang’s family is very worried about his health. At a meeting last month, for the first time in eight months since his arrest, he said his health had deteriorated dramatically.

He had a growing tumor in his abdomen, his ears were watery yellow and his eyes were dry and closed. He wishes to receive medical treatment at a specialized hospital, but the prison has not yet agreed.

Mr. Bang is a veteran against China’s invasion of Vietnam’s northern border in 1979. He is also a member of the Le Hieu Dang Club, a group of intellectuals who often speak out about national issues.

He was known to civil society through the anti-China protest movement and opposition to the Special Economic Zone bill in previous years.

Because of his energetic activities, he was once nominated as one of the ten candidates for the “Dedication” award. This human rights award was established in 2019 by a group of local activists to honor individuals who have made many contributions to the democracy struggle movement in the country. (Translated)