A Vietnamese land rights activist sentenced to an eight-year prison term on charges of attempting to overthrow the government is in failing health and has not been allowed to speak to her family by phone since being jailed, her brother says.
Tran Thi Thuy, 45, was arrested in 2010 for petitioning for redress for land confiscated by authorities, and was sentenced next year under Article 79 of Vietnam’s Penal Code for “carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration.”
Her health has steadily declined in prison, her brother Tran Thanh Tuan told RFA’s Vietnamese Service on Oct. 10 after visiting her in the An Phuoc Detention Center in southern Vietnam’s Binh Duong province.
“I last saw her on Oct. 5, when she told me that she has tumors as large as cups all over her body, which are causing her severe pain,” Tran Thanh Tuan said. “I asked the prison supervisor to allow me to see the prison doctor to ask about her medical treatment, but they are trying to avoid me.”
Tran Thi Thuy had been sent to a hospital for medical checks in September and was taking paracetamol, which can cause memory loss, Tran Thanh Tuan said, adding that medicine sent by her family had not been administered correctly as prescribed.
She has also been denied the right to speak to her family by phone, he said.
“It has been seven years and two months since she was arrested, but she has not been allowed to make any calls home. Prison authorities say this is because she has refused to plead guilty to the charges made against her,” he said.
In a March 2017 statement, the Paris-based Vietnam Committee on Human Rights called on Vietnam’s government to release all women detained for demanding human rights in the one-party communist state and to revise the vaguely worded laws used to imprison them.
Referring specifically to Tran Thi Thuy, the rights group called the government’s denial of adequate medical care to the activist a violation of the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which Vietnam ratified in 2015.
Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Emily Peyman. Written in English by Richard Finney.