Vietnamese Democracy Activists On Trial For Patriotism

Viet Tan

October 6, 2009

Nine democracy activists will be tried in Vietnam this week for “propaganda against the socialist state.” The activists published articles on the internet advocating for the country’s territorial sovereignty and planned to hang public banners calling for human rights and multiparty democracy.

Their original court date was in September. Authorities postponed the proceedings at the last minute to avoid a political trial while state president Nguyen Minh Triet was attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Contrary to Vietnamese law, authorities have not officially notified family members of the defendants of the new trial date. Instead, authorities have issued summons to several relatives to appear as witnesses for the prosecution.

Viet Tan has confirmed that:

• Poet Tran Duc Thach, High school teacher Vu Hung and Engineer Pham Van Troi will be tried in Hanoi on the 6th, 7th, and 8th of October 2009 respectively.

• Writer Nguyen Xuan Nghia, university student Ngo Quynh, former communist party member Nguyen Manh Son, essayist Nguyen Van Tinh, land rights activist Nguyen Van Tuc, and electrician Nguyen Kim Nhan will be tried in Hai Phong on October 8, 2009.

The nine democracy activists were arrested in September 2008. Also arrested at the same time was internet activist Pham Thanh Nghien. She has been held for over a year without official charges.

The political trials this week take place as Vietnam assumes the presidency of the United Nations Security Council. The Hanoi regime needs to answer to the community of civilized nations why it persecutes citizens for peaceful political speech, an act that is in direct violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And to the Vietnamese people, the Communist Party of Vietnam must explain why advocating for Vietnamese sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly Islands is considered a crime.

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Contact :
Duy Hoang +1.202.470.0845

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