Three young labor- and land-rights activists have been held virtually incommunicado by the Vietnamese authorities since late February without charges. The police accuse, without charging them, that they have been involved in distributing pro-worker leaflets. One of them, a 25 y.o. girl, was slapped on the face so hard that she bled.


For more information, please see below:

1- Extract from Radio Free Asia interview (original is in Vietnamese, we provide an English summary of main points below)

2- Statement by Human Rights Watch

1- Extract from Radio Free Asia interview

(original is in Vietnamese, we provide an English summary of main points below)


Interviewee, Mr. Le Quang Liem (Do Thi Minh Hanh’s godfather): My adopted daughter, Do Thi Minh Hanh, 25 years old, was arrested at 9am on 23/2/2010 when she came to the local Di Linh police station to do her resident-registration paper.

About a dozen police were already there waiting for her, they took her hand to take her upstairs. She resisted, saying “Why arrest me, on what charge?”. They did not answer and when she kept on resisting, they slapped her hard on the face a few times, bloodying her lips.

At 5pm that day they took her back to her home, saying that she is guilty of “disrupting the peace” and searching her place but finding nothing illegal. Do Thi Minh Hanh seemed calm but her gait was not steady, making us think that she had been physically assaulted again while in custody. It’s now nearly 3 months”.


Cụ Lê Quang Liêm: Gần đây thì có 1 trường hợp liên hệ đến tôi, là 1 người dưỡng nữ của tôi là cô Đỗ Thị Minh Hạnh, 25 tuổi bị công an bắt vào ngày 23 tháng 2 năm 2010 lúc 9 giờ sáng khi cô này đi đến văn phòng của công an huyện Di Linh để xin làm chứng minh nhân dân.

Khi cổ đến thì công an đã hườm sẵn cả chục người rồi và nắm tay dẫn cổ lên lầu. Cô Hạnh rất kiên cường, cổ cự và hỏi: “Các anh làm như thế là nghĩa lý gì? Các anh muốn bắt tôi à? Tôi bị tội gì phải nói cho rõ”. Họ không nói gì, họ vẫn kéo đi. Cổ kháng cự không chịu đi thì công an đánh cổ mấy bạt tay, môi cổ bị bể và trong miệng cổ chảy máu ra, họ vẫn lôi cổ tuốt lên trên lầu.

Cổ kháng cự không chịu đi thì công an đánh cổ mấy bạt tay, môi cổ bị bể và trong miệng cổ chảy máu ra, họ vẫn lôi cổ tuốt lên trên lầu.

Đến 5 giờ chiều cùng ngày thì công an mới dẫn cô Hạnh trở về nhà để đọc lịnh bắt cô Hạnh về tội “phá rối an ninh trật tự xã hội”và xét nhà cô Hạnh, nhưng cuối cùng không tìm được điều gì bất hợp pháp cả. Trong lúc đó mặt cô Hạnh bị sưng phù, không biết việc gì đã xảy ra trong 8 tiếng đồng hồ khi mà họ lôi cô Hạnh lên trên lầu cho đến khi dẫn cô Hạnh về nhà để đọc lệnh bắt. Chắc chắn là có lẽ bị tra tấn cho nên thấy cổ, tinh thần còn rất vững vàng nhưng bước đi, bước đứng thì không có vẻ bình thường. Sau khi đó thì cô Hạnh bị giam từ 23 tháng 2 năm 2010, tức là gần 3 tháng.

2. Statement from Human Rights Watch:

Vietnam: Isolated Political Detainees at Risk of Torture
End Detention of Peaceful Activists Held Since February

May 20, 2010

(New York) – Three young activists who have campaigned for the rights of workers and victims of land confiscation in Vietnam should be immediately released from detention, Human Rights Watch said today. They have been held almost completely incommunicado since their arrests in February 2010.

Doan Huy Chuong, 25, was arrested February 11 in Tra Vinh province and taken to Ho Chi Minh City. Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung, 29, was arrested on February 24 in Dong Nai; and Do Thi Minh Hanh, 25, on February 23 in Lam Dong. Police reportedly told one of the families that the three were detained for distributing anti-government leaflets. However, it is unknown what charges, if any, have been filed against them.

“It’s been three months, and the clock is ticking endlessly,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Given Vietnam’s harsh treatment of political detainees, we’re concerned that the authorities might use cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment – or even torture – to extract confessions from these three young activists.”

Chuong is one of the founders of the United Workers-Farmers Organization (Hiep Hoi Doan Ket Cong Nong) and was previously imprisoned in 2006 for 18 months on charges of “abusing democratic freedoms.” Chuong’s father, Doan Van Dien, was arrested on the same charges in 2006, and he remains in B5 prison in Dong Nai province. Hung and Hanh were both active supporters of the petitioners’ movement called Victims of Injustice, which helps impoverished workers and landless farmers to seek redress from the government.

Since their arrests – which have not been covered in the Vietnamese state press – state authorities have barred access by the three to lawyers as well as their families, with the exception of one visit to Do Thi Minh Hanh by her mother on May 14.

Vietnamese prison authorities routinely mistreat and torture political detainees during interrogation to pressure them to sign pre-written confessions and to disclose information about other activists. During pre-trial detention, which can last up to 20 months, political detainees are often shackled in solitary confinement in dark cells and allowed out only for interrogation and abuse.

Holding people in incommunicado detention for three months without permitting them legal counsel constitutes prolonged arbitrary detention, which violates international human rights standards. Human Rights Watch called on the Vietnamese government to provide lawyers to the three immediately and to clarify the charges against them, or release them.