[CPVW 19/10/2010] Three labour rights advocates were formally charged 17/10/2010 for helping organise a strike by 10,000 workers at the My Phong factory in January 2010, for dropping leaflets calling for civil rights, and for being in touch with the Committee to Protect Vietnamese Workers.
They are Doan Huy Chuong, Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung, and Do Thi Minh Hanh (Photo), all in their 20’s. At the trial, expected to be late October 2010, they face sentences of at least 5 years, up to 15 years, joining the existing population of hundreds of political prisoners.
Doan Huy Chuong was a founder of the United Workers-Farmers Organization and for this was imprisoned in 2006 for 18 months on charges of “abusing democratic freedoms.” His father, Doan Van Dien (Photo) was imprisoned on the same charges in 2006, and he remains in B5 prison in the Dong Nai province.
MORE INFORMATION BELOW:
1) 18/10/2010 DPA news item
2) 18/10/2010 Tuoi Tre news item
3) May 2010 statement by Human Rights Watch
Enquiries: Trung Doan, +61 400 466 848, firstname.lastname@example.org
1) 18/10/2010 DPA news item
Mon, 18 Oct 2010 – Hanoi – Vietnamese authorities have brought charges against three labour activists for “disrupting security,” an official said Monday.
The indictment said the three often contacted and received money from Tran Ngoc Thanh, chairman of the Warsaw-based Committee to Protect Vietnamese Workers, to print and distribute anti-government leaflets and to foment labour strikes.
It said “those offenders’ crimes are very serious, operated and organized with the intention to destroy the country’s security, and need punishing.”
The accused are Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung, 29, Do Thi Minh Hanh and Doan Huy Chuong, both 25 years old, said Nguyen To Toan, deputy head of security department No 2 of the prosecutor’s office.
In November 2006, Chuong established the United Workers-Farmers Organization of Vietnam (UWFO) to advocate for labour rights. He was arrested and sentenced to 18 months in prison in December 2007 for “abusing democratic freedoms,” but was released on May 13, 2008 due to poor health.
His father, Doan Van Dien, 55, a co-founder of UWFO, was also sentenced to four-and-a-half years in December 2007.
Hung and Hanh were accused of distributing anti-government leaflets and soliciting farmers’ complaints about government confiscation of their land.
The three face jail sentences of five to 15 years if convicted.
Authorities in Vietnam have jailed dozens of democracy activists and independent bloggers over the past year.
2) 18/10/2010 Tuoi Tre news item
Charges laid for 3 accused of undermining public security
Tuoi Tre – Monday, 18/10/2010 – On 17 October, the People’s Procuracy laid charges of “Undermining public security” against Nguyễn Hoàng Quốc Hùng (29 years), Đỗ Thị Minh Hạnh (25 years, also temporarily domiciled at Lái Thiêu, Thuận An, Bình Dương province) and Đoàn Huy Chương (25 years, domiciled at Phú Ngọc, Định Quán, Đồng Nai province).
According to the charges, from July 2009 to the time of arrest, the accused stayed in frequent contact with and received money from Trần Ngọc Thành (leader of the overseas reactionary overseas organization “Committee to Protect Vietnamese Workers”) to organize the dropping of leaflets to spread propaganda against the government; to agitate a number of workers at the Mỹ Phong shoe factory (Trà Vinh province) to organize a strike which interrupted the operation of the company and cause social unrest in the locality.
During February, 2010, Public Security arrested the above accused to investigate. After searching they confiscated many means of contact and documents proving their criminal act. The Prosecutor Office’s assessment is that their act is very serious, they operate in an organization, with organized activities aimed at sabotage.
3) May 20th, 2010 Human Rights Watch statement ” 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.
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Three Vietnamese labour rights advocates face 5-15 years imprisonment for helping organise a strike by 10,000 workers at the My Phong shoe factory in January 2010. Doan Huy Chuong, Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung, and Do Thi Minh Hanh, all in their 20’s, have been detained virtually incommunicado since their arrests in February. The trial is expected in late October 2010.
The “crimes” alleged by prosecutors are that Doan Huy Chuong, Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung, and Do Thi Minh Hanh worked in an organised manner, distributed leaflets expressing discontent about working conditions and about the authorities, and helped workers to organise a strike. All of these activities ought to be legal, under Vietnam’s own Constitution and in international instruments to which Vietnam is a signatory. The charges that they encouraged workers to destroy factory properties are without evidence and appear made-up.