Viet Nam
27.07.17
Urgent Interventions

Conviction and sentencing of labour and land rights defender Ms. Tran Thi Nga

New information

VNM001 / 0117 / OBS 011.1

Sentencing /

Arbitrary detention /

Judicial harassment

VietNam

July 27, 2017

TheObservatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDHand the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new informationand requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Viet Nam.

Newinformation:

The Observatory has been informed by the VietnamCommittee on Human Rights (VCHR) about the conviction and sentencing of labourand land rights defender Ms. TranThi Nga.

According to the information received, on July 25,2017, the People’s Court in Ha Nam Province sentenced Ms. Tran Thi Nga to nineyears’ imprisonment followed by an additional five years of house arrest underArticle 88 of the Vietnamese Penal Code for “spreading propaganda against the SocialistRepublic of Viet Nam”. Her sentence is related to articles and videos sheposted online in which she condemned human rights violations committed byVietnamese authorities.

Hertrial, which was held from 8:30am to 5pm, was closed to independent journalistsand foreign diplomats. Ms. Tran Thi Nga’s partner and young children were notallowed to attend the trial, nor were the activists who came to the court inher support. Police officers and plainclothes agents were deployed around thecourt premises and supporters reported being physically accosted when theytried to approach the building.

Ms.Tran Thi Nga’s health condition has deteriorated over the past few months as aresult of a mucosal injury sustained in May 2014, after authorities beat her inreprisal for her work documenting rights violations (see backgroundinformation). According to her lawyer, she was refusedproper medical treatment while detained in Ha Nam Police Detention Centre.

The Observatory strongly condemns the sentencing ofMs. Tran Thi Nga, which only aims at punishing her for her legitimate andpeaceful human rights activities and urges Vietnamese authorities to overturn her sentence,immediately and unconditionally release her, and put an end to any form ofharassment against her.

Backgroundinformation[1]:

On January 21, 2017 Ms.Tran Thi Nga was arrested at her home in Phu Ly, Ha Nam Province, after thepolice searched her house and confiscated several of her personal belongings.On the same day, Ms. Tran Thi Nga’s partner Luong Dan Ly, a pro-democracy activist and blogger, was alsoarrested. He was released the following day. The police subsequently accusedMs. Tran Thi Nga of using the Internet “to spread some propaganda videos andwritings that are against the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam”.

Ms. Tran Thi Nga hassuffered repeated intimidation, harassment, detention, interrogation, andphysical assaults by security agents because of her human rights activities. InMay 2014, a group of five men assaulted her with iron rods, breaking her armand leg. In the days prior to her arrest in January 2017, Ms. Tran Thi Nga wassubjected to increased police intimidation and harassment, includingsurveillance of her home and the use of physical force to keep her from leavingher house. Police also refused to allow a neighbour to take her two young sonsto the city to buy them food.

Actionsrequested:


Please write to the authorities in Viet Nam urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances Ms. Tran Thi Nga’sphysical and psychological integrity as well as that of all human rightsdefenders in Viet Nam;

ii. Immediatelyand unconditionally release Ms. Tran Thi Nga, as her detention isarbitrary since it only aims at punishing her for her human rights activities,and in the meantime ensure herfull and unhindered access to proper medical treatment in adequate medicalfacilities;

iii. Put an end to all acts harassment, including atthe judicial level, against Ms. Tran Thi Nga, as well as against all human rights defenders in Viet Nam;

iv. Amend Article 88 of the Criminal Code, to bring itin conformity with international human rights standards;

v. Complywith the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9,1998, in particular its Articles 1 and 12.2;

vi.More generally, ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights andfundamental freedoms in accordance with international and regional human rightsinstruments ratified by Viet Nam.

Addresses:

· Mr. Pham Binh Minh, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam, Fax:84-4-38231872 – 84-4-37992682, Email: bc.mfa@mofa.gov.vn

· Mr. Le VinhTan, Minister of the Interior of Viet Nam, Fax: 84-4-39781005

· Mr. Le Thanh Long, Minister of Justice of Viet Nam,Fax: 84-4-38431431

· Mr. To Lam, Minister of Public Security of Viet Nam,Fax: 84-4-9420223

· Mr. Mai Tien Dung, Minister, Office of the Government(OOG), Viet Nam, Fax: 84-4-80 44130

· Mr. Chi Dung Duong,Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Viet Nam to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 (0) 22-798 07 24, Email: info@vnmission-ge.gov.vn

· Mr. Vuong Thua Phong,Ambassador, Embassy of Viet Nam in Brussels, Belgium. Fax:+32 (0) 2 374 93 76, Email: vnemb.brussels@skynet.be - unescochau@yahoo.com

Pleasealso write to the embassy of Viet Nam in your respective country.

***

Paris-Geneva,July 27, 2017

Kindlyinform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in yourreply.

The Observatory forthe Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective ofthis programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repressionagainst human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu , the European UnionHuman Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

Tocontact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

· E-mail:Appeals[at]fidh-omct.org

· Teland fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0)22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

[1]See also Observatory-VCHR Joint Press Release, July 21, 2017.

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