The husband of jailed Vietnamese dissident Tran Thi Nga says he is worried about her safety as she serves her sentence at Gia Trung prison in Gia Lai Province in Vietnam’s Central Highlands.
Nga, 40, was sentenced in July 2017 to nine years in prison for spreading “propaganda against the state” under Article 88 of Vietnam’s penal code, a provision frequently used to silence dissident bloggers and other activists.
Her husband Phan Van Phong had sent an appeal for her protection after he heard from her during an August 17 phone call that she had been beaten and threatened with death by a cellmate.
On Monday, Phong sent another petition in the form of a letter to inquire about her safety. This letter was sent to the prison, the People’s Supreme Procuracy in Hanoi and the Procuracy in Gia Lai.
Phong told RFA over the phone on October 24 “Since that phone call, I’ve not heard anything from her. We are fighting for our right to know what’s going on!”
According to the petition, the family tried to have their monthly visits with Nga on August 22 and September 28, but they were turned away. Prison authorities said that she was being disciplined for breaking the rules. Phong said that they could not provide evidence of this.
Phong said that he was very worried because he hasn’t seen his wife in two months and has no way of knowing anything about her situation.
RFA tried to call the prison for comment, but all calls went unanswered. Phong told RFA that Nga’s brother was able to get a hold of a supervisor at the prison, who assured him that Nga is fine, but he did not say how recently this occurred.
Vietnam’s one-party communist government currently holds at least 130 political prisoners, including rights advocates and bloggers deemed threats to national security, Human Rights Watch says.
It also controls all media, censors the internet, and restricts basic freedoms of expression.
Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Viet Ha. Written in English by Eugene Whong.