The three jailed labor-rights advocates, Ms. Do Thi Minh Hanh, Mr. Doan Huy Chuong, and Mr. Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung, continue to be beaten and ill-treated, and are in ill health
The three jailed labor-rights advocates, Ms. Do Thi Minh Hanh, Mr. Doan Huy Chuong, and Mr. Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung, continue to be beaten and ill-treated, and are in ill health

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The three jailed labor-rights advocates, Ms. Do Thi Minh Hanh, Mr. Doan Huy Chuong, and Mr. Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung, continue to be beaten and ill-treated, and are in ill health
In November 2012, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention condemned the trials, detention and sentences of these activists and asked for their immediate release along with appropriate compensation. From information we have obtained, not only are they still jailed but also victimised by deliberate and targeted abusive and inhumane treatment.

pic_1274663891_02Ms. Do Thi Minh Hanh

[She] refused to comply with forced-labor orders. In response, camp officials locked in all prisoners. Predictably, they resented and about 30 prisoners beat her up

In early May 2013, Ms. Do was transferred from the Z30D detention camp in Binh Thuan Province to Z30A camp in Xuan Loc, Dong Nai Province. Within only one week following her transfer to the new camp, according to her father and a witness, Ms. Do has been subjected to group beatings on two occasions.

Her father reported that at the last visit in early May, she seemed sad, of deteriorating health, and indicated that she felt isolated in the camp. Camp guards were sitting nearby to censor their conversation, so not much could be discussed.

However, one witness, Ms. Mai Thi Dung, was a prisoner detained in section 5 where Ms. Do was also detained. Ms. Mai was a Hoa Hao Buddhist serving an 11-year sentence for disrupting public order, and suffered from gall bladder stones. She related the 2 beating incidents to her husband, Mr. Vo Van Buu, during his visits.  (Mr. Vo was himself a former political prisoner of 7 years, released on May 8th, 2012.)

The first beating occured when Ms. Do refused to report to the roll call. Camp officials made the rest of the prisoners sit in the sun as punishment. Predictably, they resented and subsequently went in to beat her up. The second time, on May 10th, 2013, Ms. Do refused to comply with forced-labor orders. In response, camp officials locked in all prisoners. Predictably, they resented and about 30 prisoners beat her up. These were prisoners convicted of criminal offenses (such as robbery and prostitution). Camp officials do not themselves beat her, but create conditions so that common law prisoners assault political and religious prisoners.

Update 13th June 2013: The second beating took place while Hanh was naked in the shower. The prisoners who beat her up were females, but a male guard was present and he simply looked on, taking no action to stop the beating.

As a former prisoner of Z30A camp where Ms. Do is now held, Mr. Vo Van Buu described detention as follows. The camp is divided into 5 sections, with each holding about 800 to 1000 people. Each section is divided into many rooms, with each room holding from 60 to 80 people. Each person occupies a space less than 2 square meters, which with overcrowding is often reduced to 1.2 square meter. A prison camp is a small-scale society with injustices, cruelty, corruption and discrimination.  High ranking officials serving sentences pay to receive better treatment, and their labour involves animal farming. Common law criminals work in the fields and grow vegetables. Labour reserved for women prisoners involves peeling cashews, which is extremely hazardous to their health due to the caustic resin of cashews.

PHOTO The couple Hung and Hanh, about late 2009
PHOTO The couple Hung and Hanh, about late 2009

Mr. Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung

He still suffers from headaches and internal pains..due to beatings .. His skin and eyes are now yellow .. he has to perform labour duties 8 hrs/day, 6 days/wk

Mr. Nguyen’s father provided the following update on his son’s condition following a visit on April 11, 2013. He still suffers from headaches and internal pains, in particular his spleen, due to beatings during his 8-month pre-trial detention in Tra Vinh. He had been beaten so that he would plead guilty to the charges, which he has so far refused to do. His skin and eyes are now yellow. The authorities are still pressuring him to plead guilty.

In terms of labour, he has to perform labour duties 8 hours a day, 6 days a week (with rest on Sunday), involving cleaning around the camp, watering and fertilizing vegetables. He carries out such labour under watch by guards, in an area enclosed with 3 layers of fences, a 3 meter high wall and barbed wire. He also has to clean his own room, with guards keeping watch.

He sleeps on the tile floor, with whatever he can find as sheets, in a space that is 1.2 meters wide and 2 meters long. His room is 100 square meters and houses 60 prisoners. The toilet is set up inside the room.

He is no longer detained with common law prisoners, or with those infected with HIV, tuberculosis, or drug addicts. He is subjected to searches everyday, involving searches of his belongings and his body. He is now very sick, but requests to send him medicine have been denied.

He has enough rice to eat, but receives no other food, and his family has to provide extra food. Personal supplies for basic necessities and food can be purchased in the camp for double the price found outside.

Camp officials insist that he confess and plead guilty to reduce his sentence, but he refuses, and is therefore subjected to all kinds of pressure.

Mr. Doan Huy Chuong

PHOTO Chuong in court behind Hung arm held by police 3h.jpg

He still suffers from constant pain in the head due to beatings .. He sleeps on the tile floor in a 0.8m x 2m space

Mr. Doan’s father visited him on April 13th, 2013. Mr. Doan now stays with other political prisoners, where relations are respectful. He still suffers from constant pain in the head due to beatings sustained earlier during interrogations in Tra Vinh.

Officials are still pressuring Mr. Doan to acknowledge that his actions had been incited by external forces, but he has refused, indicating that the actions by Ms. Do, Mr. Nguyen and himself were not linked to anybody else, but were merely aimed at demanding rights for Vietnamese workers and peasants. He also made clear his actions did not represent any offense.

There is still discrimination in prisoner treatment. Right now, if prisoners pay officials, they get 24 hour family leave once a month; those who pay more are allowed leave twice a month. This treatment does not apply to political prisoners. Mr. Doan’s father is planning to take legal action against the prison authorities for violating their own regulations and engaging in discriminatory treatment against political prisoners.

Mr. Doan has to perform labour duties 8 hours a day, 6 days a week with Sunday off, growing vegetables, in an area enclosed with 3 layers of fences, a 3 meter high wall and barbed wire. He sleeps on the floor in a 0.8m x 2m space. He is no longer detained with common law offenders, or those infected with HIV or drug addicts.

He is subjected to an invasive search every 7 days, which includes searching his rectal cavity, and a thorough search of his belongings and clothes. In addition, surprise searches of his room are also conducted.

All prisoners robbed by authorities of what little they have

Aside from beatings and forced labour, the authorities engage in blatant robbery of what little belongings the prisoners have, especially during camp transfers. When transfered, prisoners are forced to leave all their belongings behind. The prisoners’ families have to provide them with medicine and various personal supplies, since such supplies are very expensive if purchased inside the prison.

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