Prominent Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Huu Vinh, also known as Anh Ba Sam, and his assistant, Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy, were arrested last May in Hanoi for posting essays “that had the potential to tarnish the state apparatus’ prestige,” according to state media. Gia Minh of RFA’s spoke to their lawyer, Ha Huy Son, about the case of the two bloggers, whose trial has been postponed. They are just two of the 150-200 activists and bloggers that New York-based Human Rights Watch estimates are serving prison time in Vietnam.
RFA: What is happening with the case?
Ha Huy Son: I went to the Hanoi People’s Court this morning, January 13, to submit my petition asking for a replacement of the judge, Nguyen Van Phu, who was assigned to the trial of Nguyen Huu Vinh, because I think he violated the litigation period as I wrote in my previous complaint. I think he will be biased, and according to the litigation law, they need to replace him. So I went there to submit my petition and the court’s secretary gave me the notice of postponement. The reason was the jury will not be able to attend the trial.
RFA: Did you inform Le Thi Minh Ha, Nguyen Huu Vinh’s wife? What was her reaction?
Ha Huy Son: I told her right after that. Ha was upset but she was not surprised because she knows how they (the court) have been handling cases like this.
RFA: What do you think?
Ha Huy Son: I think the postponement for the reason that there is no jury is just an excuse they used to cover up another real reason because as far as I know the role of jury in Vietnam court is not very important.
RFA: What will you do next for this case?
Ha Huy Son: The most important thing in this case is a litigation procedure that is not in accordance with the la, so I hope they will abide by the law.
RFA: How were Nguyen Huu Vinh and Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy the last time you saw them?
Ha Huy Son: I met Vinh about 10 days ago. His spirit was good but his health is not good. Thuy is the same. They sent their thanks to people, to friends who care about them, and they said that their spirits are good and people should believe in them.
Translated by Viet Ha.