[Diggers350] International Calls For Vietnam To Free Land Rights Activists As Fifth, Teacher Le Trong Hung, Is Jailed

Tony Gosling tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Fri Dec 31 22:06:55 GMT 2021

International Calls For Vietnam To Free Land 
Rights Activists As Fifth, Teacher Le Trong Hung, Is Jailed


See also NEW St George's Hill Diggers occupation maps

Vietnam jails fifth land rights activist and 
teacher Le Trong Hung for social media posts
December 2021 
a comment

Viet Nam: UN Experts Appalled By Conviction Of Four Human Rights Defenders

Vietnam: Free Land Rights Activists

Trinh Ba Phuong, Nguyen Thi Tam Face Long Imprisonment


Photos of Nguyen Thi Tam (right) and Trinh Ba 
Phuong (left), wearing a shirt that says “Human 
Rights” and carrying a sign that reads, “[You] 
cannot rob human rights from us, the people!”

Update: On December 15, 2021, a Hanoi court 
sentenced Trinh Ba Phuong to 10 years in prison 
and five years of probation after his release. 
The court sentenced Nguyen Thi Tam to six years 
in prison and three years of probation after her release.

(New York) – The Vietnamese authorities should 
immediately drop politically motivated charges 
and release two land rights activists in Hanoi, Human Rights Watch said today.

Police arrested Nguyen Thi Tam and Trinh Ba 
Phuong in June 2020 for having “prepared, 
published and disseminated video clips and 
writing with distorted contents that sow 
confusion among the people in order to oppose the 
State,” in violation of Article 117 of the Penal 
Code. A court in Hanoi is scheduled to hear their 
cases on December 15, 2021. If convicted, each faces up to 20 years in prison.

“The Vietnamese government is using criminal law 
to intimidate and shut down people peacefully 
protesting against land confiscation,” said Phil 
Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights 
Watch. “The government should release these two 
activists and all others arrested and imprisoned 
under Article 117, and abolish this abusive law.”

Article 117 of the Penal Code broadly prohibits 
“making, storing, disseminating or propagandizing 
information, materials and products that aim to 
oppose the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.”

In 2021 alone, at least 16 people – including the 
prominent independent bloggers Pham Chi Dung, 
Nguyen Tuong Thuy, and Pham Chi Thanh – have been 
convicted and sentenced to prison for violating 
Article 117. Another 11 people, including the 
rights activist Nguyen Thuy Hanh, have been 
arrested and are being held in pre-trial detention under that article.

Nguyen Thi Tam, 49, has protested against land 
confiscation in Hanoi’s Duong Noi commune since 
the mid 2000s. In June 2008 she participated in a 
public protest outside the People’s Committee of 
the then-Ha Tay provincial headquarters. In 
November 2008 a court put Nguyen Thi Tam and 
other villagers on trial for “resisting people on 
public duty,” convicted her, and sentenced her to 
a suspended 12-month prison sentence.

Trinh Ba Phuong, 36, comes from a family of land 
rights activists. Over the past decade, he has 
joined his mother, Can Thi Theu, his father, 
Trinh Ba Khiem, and younger brother, Trinh Ba Tu, 
in numerous protests and campaigns in support of 
human rights, land rights, and environmental 
protection. The authorities arrested his father 
in April 2014 during a government land 
confiscation in Duong Noi for “resisting against 
those who are on public duties,” under Article 
257 of the Penal Code, and imprisoned him for 14 
months. His mother previously served two prison 
terms – 15 months beginning in 2014 and 20 months in 2016.

On the same day that Trinh Ba Phuong was arrested 
in Hanoi, the police in Hoa Binh province also 
arrested his mother and brother on the same 
charge. Prior to their arrests, the three family 
members were instrumental in amplifying the 
voices of farmers at Hanoi’s Dong Tam commune, 
where a police raid in January 2020 resulted in 
the deaths of an 84-year-old farmer, Le Dinh 
Kinh, and three policemen. Trinh Ba Phuong was 
one of the authors of the “Dong Tam Report,” 
which shed light on the violent land clash. In 
October 2020 the police arrested another author 
of the Dong Tam Report, the prominent dissident 
Pham Doan Trang. A court in Hanoi is scheduled to hear her case on November 4.

In May, Trinh Ba Phuong’s mother and brother, Can 
Thi Theu and Trinh Ba Tu, were each sentenced to 
eight years in prison. Upon being asked their 
names at the trial, both said “my name is Victim 
of the Communist [regime].” Both have appealed 
their verdicts. Recently, a family member told 
Radio Free Asia that police allegedly beat Trinh 
Ba Tu during his arrest in June 2020, sending him 
to the hospital for treatment of his injuries.

Both Trinh Ba Phuong and Trinh Ba Tu appear to 
have anticipated their arrests. On the day they 
were arrested, pre-recorded videos were posted on 
Facebook in which they expressed concern that 
they might be tortured and killed by police. They 
asked supporters and family members to publicly 
display their bodies if they were killed to expose the crimes against them.

In February 2020 the police newspaper labeled 
Nguyen Thi Tam, Trinh Ba Phuong, Trinh Ba Tu, and 
Can Thi Theu “opposing reactionary” persons who 
“collected and disseminated” news about the deadly Dong Tam commune clash.

“Land confiscation has become one of Vietnam’s 
most heated rights issues, and the government’s 
repressive response has made the situation 
worse,” Robertson said. “The government should 
recognize people’s rights to protest and seek a 
fair and transparent process to negotiate 
adequate compensation for losing land.”

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vanished out of their 
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