12 April 2018 – Ahead of the separate trials on April 12 of two activists, Nguyễn Viết Dũng and Vũ Văn Hùng, in Viet Nam, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:
“Nguyễn Viết Dũng is a brave young activist in a country where human rights are under attack. This man has already served time in prison for his peaceful activism once before. To ensure there is no repeat of this injustice, the authorities of Nghệ An province must immediately drop all charges against Dũng and release him immediately.
“Vũ Văn Hùng is a prisoner of conscience who has been held in pre-trial detention on trumped-up, politically motivated charges for several months. He has done nothing but peacefully defend human rights and should never have been detained in the first place.
“After throwing a record number of human rights defenders in jail last year, the Vietnamese authorities have made another deeply troubling statement of intent by bringing these two activists before the courts. It sends a clear signal that there is to be no let-up.”
2017 marked a record year in Vietnam for crackdowns against civil society with more than 20 human rights defenders and activists arrested, convicted and imprisoned. In 2018, attacks against human rights defenders and activists continue.
In November 2015, Nguyễn Viết Dũng was arrested and sentenced to fifteen months to prison under article 245 Vietnam Penal code 1999 of “disturbing public order”. He was released on April 13 2016.
Vũ Văn Hùng, member of the Brotherhood for Democracy Association (Hội Anh Em Dân Chủ), was arrested on 30 July 2017 on suspicion of “intentionally inflicting injury on or causing harm to the health of other persons” under Article 134 of the 2015 Penal Code and has been held in pre-trial detention since. Hùng had previously arrested and sentenced to three years imprisonment with three years house arrest on release under article 88 Vietnam Penal code 1999 “spreading propaganda against the state” in 2008 and later released in 2011.
For a list of all prisoners of conscience that Amnesty International is aware of in Viet Nam, please click here.