Vietnam News

Vietnam arrests rights defender for anti-state campaign

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Rights group says Nguyen Thuy Hanh’s arrest is a politically motivated attempt to silence an inspiring activist

Security officers in Vietnam have detained a well-known female activist who helps prisoners of conscience and their families for spreading anti-government material.

Colonel Dam Van Khanh, deputy of the investigating department of Hanoi City Public Security, announced on April 8 that Nguyen Thuy Hanh, 57, was detained for “making, storing or spreading information, materials or items for the purpose of opposing the state of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam under Article 117 of the Criminal Law.”

The charge carries a potential prison sentence of 5-20 years. She was taken to Detention Camp No. 2 in the capital.

Hanh, a Hanoi resident who often attends Catholic services to pray for jailed activists, will be detained for between four months and two years for investigation.

Her husband, blogger Huynh Ngoc Chenh, who was away from home while police were searching their house on April 7, said police sealed the house and took away some of his books, her handwritten material and her cellphone.

He was told that his wife, who suffers from low blood pressure and vestibular disorders, could take with her some medicines. On April 9, Hanh was taken to her house to give her property to her husband but later returned to the camp.

Chenh, a former teacher, said lawyers Ngo Anh Tuan and Le Van Luan will register to defend her.

The blogger, who publishes thousands of critical posts on his own blog and social media, said police arrested Hanh for providing financial support to families of prisoners of conscience, which is alleged to cause danger to the government.

“It is unreasonable to take criminal proceedings against her, so they accuse her of anti-state activities,” he said.

Hanh established the 50k (50,000 dong) Fund in 2018 with the purpose of raising funds to pay lawyers who defend rights and environmental activists.

Union of Catholic Asian News – April 11, 2021

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