Authorities in central Vietnam’s Quang Binh province arrested a member of an online democracy advocacy group on Friday, bringing to five the number of group members taken into custody during the last week.
Nguyen Trung Truc, a former political prisoner and member of the online Brotherhood for Democracy group, was taken from his home in handcuffs on charges of working to overthrow the government, Truc’s son told RFA’s Vietnamese Service following Tuc's arrest.
"At around 9:00 a.m., nearly 100 uniformed and plainclothes officers came to our house,” Truc’s son said.
“They pulled my father outside to take video and photos, and then they forced him to sign some documents. Then they searched our house and took our phones and papers,” he said.
“They spent three hours doing all of this, then they took him away at about 1:00 p.m. after reading a document accusing my father of having violated Article 79” [of Vietnam’s Penal Code, related to "activities aimed at overthrowing the people's administration."]
Speaking separately, another member of Quang Binh province’s Brotherhood for Democracy group confirmed that Truc had been arrested.
“This morning, about 100 people went to Nguyen Trung Truc’s house to arrest him under Article 79 and conducted a house search until about 12:30. Then they escorted him away,” the source said, speaking to RFA on condition of anonymity.
Others also held
On Sunday, police detained four other members of the group on charges of attempting to topple the country’s one-party state, drawing condemnation from their organization and Paris-based rights campaigners who demanded their unconditional release next day.
Taken into custody were Protestant pastor Nguyen Trung Ton, 45, engineer Pham Van Troi, 45, journalist Truong Minh Duc, 57, and lawyer Nguyen Bac Truyen, 49, according to a statement on the website of Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security.
The four men were charged under Article 79 and could face the death penalty if convicted.
Communist Vietnam, where all media are state-controlled, does not tolerate dissent, and rights groups identify Article 79 as among a set of vague provisions that authorities have used to detain dozens of writers and bloggers.
Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Emily Peyman. Written in English by Richard Finney.