A Vietnamese activist jailed in 2010 for writing online articles criticizing government policies is in “good spirits” and preparing to appeal his sentence, his brother told RFA’s Vietnamese Service on Tuesday.
Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, 52, was convicted in 2010 on charges of plotting to overthrow the government under Article 79 of Vietnam’s penal code and is serving a 16-year prison term. He was tried along with lawyer Le Cong Dinh, engineer Nguyen Tien Trung, and businessman Le Thang Long.
Thuc’s brother, Tran Huynh Duy Tan, spent an hour with the political prisoner on Feb. 18 with two other siblings and Thuc’s wife during a Lunar New Year visit to Prison No. 6 in north-central Vietnam’s Nghe An province.
“His health seems to be normal. He seemed to be in good spirits as ever and firmly believes in the path he has chosen,” Tan told RFA.
“His confidence was shown in each word and message he told my family that we shouldn’t worry about anything and to just believe in justice, as well as to believe that he will soon come home to be with us,” Thuc’s brother said.
In April 2017, family members reported that Thuc was suffering failing vision after being kept in a dark cell and denied books and other reading materials.
But Tan told RFA that “for the past three months, the behavior of prison staff has become more pleasant.”
"This time, although we still had to talk through a glass wall, the door of the room in which we stayed was left open. This never happened before the past three months,” Tan said.
“At the end of the conversation, Thuc could step out to shake hands and give us hugs for a very short time. Before this, we couldn’t even hold hands let alone hug each other,” he said.
“The atmosphere was also not as stressful as before,” added Tan.
Tan said Thuc had recently sent a petition to the Chief Justice of the Supreme People's Court, demanding a review and reduction of his sentence under Vietnam’s new penal code.
“Our family is also going to continue writing another petition, with Thuc’s father being the applicant, to send to the Supreme People's Court. At the same time, we will also work with his lawyers for advice and support,” Thuc’s brother said.
Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Emily Peyman. Written in English by Paul Eckert