Vietnamese Former Political Prisoner Arrested For 'Distributing Anti-State Materials Online'

2018-01-12
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Doan Van Dien is shown in inset (R) with son Doan Huy Chuong shown at left in a file photo.
Doan Van Dien is shown in inset (R) with son Doan Huy Chuong shown at left in a file photo.
RFA

A former political prisoner arrested in December by police in southeastern Vietnam’s Dong Nai province was taken into custody without a warrant and with no word given to his family as to when he may be released, the man’s son said.

Doan Van Dien was arrested at his home in Dong Nai’s Xuan Loc district on Dec. 17, 2017 for allegedly “distributing anti-State materials online,” but no documents authorizing the arrest were presented by police, Dien’s son Doan Huy Chuong told RFA’s Vietnamese Service on Jan. 12.

“We saw my father at the Public Security Ministry’s police station PA92, and they told us at first that they were going to hold him for investigation, but it’s been over 20 days now and he still hasn’t been released,” he said.

“They took him away without showing any order, notice, or summons,” Chuong said, adding, “The only reason they provided was that my father was distributing some materials online.”

Dien’s family will now hire a lawyer to work directly with Dong Nai provincial police to learn more about the reasons for his arrest, Chuong said.

Reached by RFA for comment, an officer at police station PA92 denied knowledge of the arrest, saying, “We are not holding anybody named Doan Van Dien.”

Jailed before

Born in 1954 in south-central Vietnam’s Quang Nam province, Dien had served a four-and-a-half year prison term after being convicted on Dec. 10, 2007 by the People’s Court of Dong Nai for “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State.”

His son Chuong and two others were also sentenced in the case, with Chuong handed an 18-month term for allegedly “spreading propaganda against the State” under Article 88 of Vietnam’s Penal Code.

The four were accused of collecting complaints of government land-rights violations and passing them on to RFA and other news organizations, as well as distributing anti-government leaflets at a meeting in Hanoi before an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in November 2006.

According to a report at the time by the English-language Vietnam News, the defendants had slandered the Vietnamese state and “distorted facts” by telling Radio Free Asia that Vietnam represses workers and arrests protesters.

Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Emily Peyman. Written in English by Richard Finney.

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