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VIet Nam

    August 26, 2014

    The Vietnamese authorities must stop attacks on peaceful activists, Amnesty International said today after three human rights defenders were sentenced to jail and police beat and arrested their supporters.

    Women activists Bui Thi Minh Hang and Nguyen Thi Thuy Quynh, along with their male co-defendant Nguyen Van Minh, were handed between two and three-year jail terms on charges of "disturbing public order" at Dong Thap Provincial People's Court in Viet Nam.

    Dozens of their supporters, including family members, bloggers and other civil society activists, were harassed, beaten and arrested to prevent them from attending the court hearing.

    “Today’s verdict appears to be another attempt to punish peaceful activism in Viet Nam”, said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director.

    The three activists were attacked and arrested by police along with 18 others in February 2014 while trying to visit former prisoner of conscience Nguyen Bac Truyen at his fiance’s home.

    June 30, 2014

    The early release of Do Thi Minh Hanh, a woman labour activist and prisoner of conscience, in Viet Nam is a positive step but authorities must now follow up and release the scores of other peaceful activists still behind bars, Amnesty International said.

    Hanh, 28, was released on 26 June by Vietnamese authorities and arrived home yesterday. She had been imprisoned for seven years in 2010 for “conducting propaganda against the state”, after handing out leaflets in support of workers demanding better pay and conditions.

    “We are of course delighted that Do Thi Minh Hanh has been released, but she should never have been locked up in the first place. Sentencing someone to seven years in prison for handing out leaflets is ludicrous, and a sad indictment of the Vietnamese authorities’ long-lasting crackdown on dissent,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    “The Vietnamese authorities must now follow up and immediately and unconditionally release all others who have been jailed for peacefully exercising their human rights.”

    April 14, 2014

    The early release in Viet Nam of several prisoners of conscience is welcome, but serves to highlight the situation of at least 70 others who remain jailed for peacefully expressing their opinions, Amnesty International said today.

    Nguyen Tien Trung, Vi Duc Hoi and Cu Huy Ha Vu have all been released over the past week.

    “We are delighted that these men are out of prison but they should never have been locked-up in the first place,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director.

    “The releases are a step in the right direction for freedom of expression and we hope that they reflect a shift in Viet Nam’s commitment to respecting human rights.”

    Amnesty International has documented the cases of 75 individuals who have been imprisoned after being tried and convicted for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression, and raised some of these cases in a recent visit to Viet Nam.

    April 04, 2014

    Amnesty International has paid tribute to Dinh Dang Dinh, the Vietnamese environmental activist, blogger and former prisoner of conscience, who has died aged 50.

    The activist was unjustly jailed in 2011 after starting a petition against a mining project and was diagnosed with cancer while in prison.

    The authorities only allowed Dinh Dang Dinh to be treated in hospital from January 2014, where he was kept under constant surveillance. He was released temporarily on medical grounds in February, before being released permanently in March.

    Dinh Dang Dinh died of stomach cancer at his home in Dak Nong province in Viet Nam’s Central Highlands yesterday evening.

    “We join human rights defenders in Viet Nam and across the world in mourning the loss of Dinh Dang Dinh and express our deepest condolences to his family,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director.

    “It is a tragedy that the Vietnamese authorities stole the last years of Dinh Dang Dinh’s life, locking him up away from his loved ones.”

    February 20, 2014

    Representatives from Amnesty International’s Secretariat this week made their first visit to Viet Nam in decades.

    A four-person delegation spent three days in Viet Nam’s capital Hanoi, building on an individual visit for the organization last year by Amnesty International USA’s Deputy Executive Director.

    They met with a range of stakeholders, including senior government and Communist Party officials, National Assembly members, experts from research institutes, representatives of non-governmental organizations and foreign diplomats.

    “We are pleased that the Vietnamese authorities have allowed representatives from the International Secretariat of Amnesty International to enter the country for the first time in decades. We had frank and open discussions on a number of human rights concerns,” said Isabelle Arradon, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Program, who led the delegation.

    “This is a positive step, and we look forward to further constructive engagement with the Viet Nam government.”

    November 08, 2013

    Vietnamese national media today reported that the government is asking the National Assembly to allow the use of execution by firing squad until 2015.

    An EU export ban on the chemicals needed for lethal injections has meant that Viet Nam has struggled to find drugs to carry out executions.

    Isabelle Arradon, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director, said:

    "It is extremely disappointing that Viet Nam is yet again trying to find a way to kill, either by using domestically produced drugs or by reverting to an execution method the government itself has rejected as inhumane.

    “The current shortage of lethal drugs should be an opportunity for the Vietnamese authorities to show to the world their commitment to humane treatment of prisoners and their rejection of the death penalty.

    “The death penalty is not a deterrent to crime. It is the ultimate form of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and a clear violation of a fundamental human right, the right to life.

    November 07, 2013

    The Vietnamese authorities must end their alarming crackdown on dissent and immediately put in place measures to protect activists from further harassment and imprisonment simply for exercising their rights, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

    Silenced Voices: Prisoners of Conscience in Viet Nam examines how laws and decrees are used to criminalize freedom of expression, both online and in the streets. It also lists 75 prisoners of conscience in Viet Nam, some of whom have been locked up in harsh conditions for years.

    “Viet Nam is fast turning into one of South East Asia’s largest prisons for human rights defenders and other activists. The government’s alarming clampdown on free speech has to end,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Viet Nam Researcher.

    “This year, Viet Nam is both debating a revised constitution and vying for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. The government is telling the world about its respect for the rule of law, but the repression of dissent violates Viet Nam’s international commitments to respect freedom of expression.”

    October 02, 2013

    Viet Nam must immediately release a prominent lawyer and human rights activist who was jailed on politically motivated charges today, Amnesty International said.

    A court in Viet Nam’s capital Ha Noi today sentenced Le Quoc Quan, one of the country’s best known dissidents, to 30 months in prison on trumped up tax evasion charges.

    “This is a ludicrous sentence, and just another clear example of the Vietnamese authorities harassing and imprisoning those who are peaceful critics with opposing views,” said Isabelle Arradon, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    “It is very difficult to not conclude that Le Quoc Quan has simply been targeted for his human rights activism – as he has been many times before. He should be released immediately and all charges against him dropped.”

    Le Quoc Quan has been a prominent campaigner for democracy and human rights issues in Viet Nam for years. He wrote a popular blog exposing corruption and human rights abuses not covered by the state-controlled media.

    August 06, 2013

    The first execution in Viet Nam in more than 18 months is outrageous and puts hundreds of death row prisoners at risk, Amnesty International said.

    Nguyen Anh Tuan, convicted for murder in 2010, was reportedly executed today in the Ha Noi Police prison through lethal injection – the first execution in the country since around January 2012.

    Tighter EU regulations on the export of the drugs needed for lethal injections meant that Viet Nam did not carry out any executions during this period, but a new law that came into effect on 27 June 2013 states that Viet Nam can now use drugs produced outside the EU or domestically.

    According to media reports, there are currently 586 people on death row in Viet Nam, of which at least 116 have exhausted their final legal appeals.

    “It is deplorable that Viet Nam has resumed executions and reflects a ruthless determination by the authorities to continue using the death penalty,” said Isabelle Arradon, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    March 06, 2013

    A representative from Amnesty International has visited Viet Nam to open up channels for dialogue with the government on the human rights situation in the country.

    The visit was the first by the organization since the late 1970s.

    “We were pleased to accept the invitation from Viet Nam’s authorities to visit the country to discuss Amnesty International’s work and approaches, which includes engaging with governments all over the world,” said Frank Jannuzi, Amnesty International USA’s Deputy Executive Director, who spent six days in the South East Asian country.

    "We also used the opportunity to raise our concerns about the human rights situation in Viet Nam, including the severe restrictions on the right to freedom of expression.”

    Over the past two years the Vietnamese authorities have locked up dozens of human rights defenders, including bloggers, songwriters, lawyers, labour activists, members of religious groups, democracy activists and others, even as they bid for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council in 2014-2016.

    January 09, 2013

    The conviction and heavy sentencing of 13 peaceful Catholic activists in Viet Nam today flies in the face of justice and is part of an escalating government crackdown on freedom of expression, Amnesty International said.

    A court in Nghe An province today sentenced the 13 activists to between three and 13 years’ imprisonment on charges of undertaking “activities aimed at overthrowing” the government. One other activist was given a suspended sentence.  

    “We urge the Vietnamese authorities to release the activists immediately and unconditionally,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Viet Nam.

    “To misconstrue the activities of the activists as trying to overthrow the government is baseless – they have been imprisoned only for exercising their right to freedom of expression.”

    The 14 activists who stood trial – 12 men and two women – were first arrested in mid-2011 on suspicion of ties to the US-based political party Viet Tan, a group calling for peaceful political reform in Viet Nam, which the Vietnamese government has labelled as terrorist.

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