A Vietnamese activist serving a seven-year prison term for his role in protesting a chemical waste spill three years ago on Vietnam’s coast entered the 12th day of a hunger strike over mistreatment by authorities, his sister said on Tuesday.
Nguyen Van Hoa is calling an investigation into beatings he received in detention in 2017 and later in 2018, when he was brought from prison to testify in the trial of another detainee, according to his sister Nguyen Thi Hue.
His sister visited him Tuesday at An Diem Prison, Quang Nam Province. After the visit she updated his condition to RFA’s Vietnamese Service in an interview.
“He’s still very weak as the hunger strike is now in its 12th day. He looks pale and much thinner,” she said.
“I hope that by tomorrow he’ll reconsider his hunger strike, and then when I have my next scheduled visit with him in the beginning of April, everything will be back to normal. He told me he promised [to consider her advice],“ she said.
Nguyen Van Hoa also told his sister that the guards were documenting his condition during his hunger strike.
“He said this morning [Tuesday] that a prison guard kept rushing into his cell to film and photo him,” she said.
She indicated that her brother would remain resolute in pursuing justice from his cell.
“Hoa also says he will continue to send petitions and denounce those who have been beating him,” said Nguyen Thi Hue.
Meanwhile, detained Lutheran reverend Dinh Van Diem, serving a 16-year sentence for “carrying out activities to subvert the government,” is suffering due to his deteriorating health condition in Prison No. 6, Thanh Chuong District, Nghe An Province, according to his wife.
Dinh Thi Xa said that after her visit with her husband on Sunday, “I see that he is not well. He’s not in good shape. I am very worried but I don’t know what to do.”
Diem, a former member of the Vietnam Interfaith Council, was arrested in January 2018. In his indictment, prosecutors said that he had coordinated and participated in the “Interim Republic Government” group, led by Vietnamese-American Dao Minh Quan and labelled by Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security as a terrorist group.
Dinh Van Diem was sentenced in July and the sentence was upheld in October.
Dinh Thi Xa said that her husband has a health condition for which the prison is not giving proper care.
“He has spondylosis, high blood pressure and chronic colds and fevers,” she said, adding, “He says the prison is giving him medicine, but his situation is still worsening.”
During Dinh Van Diem’s incarceration, several packages sent to the prison for him by his wife were returned to their home 650 kilometers (400 miles) away. It is for this reason that she was concerned that it would be difficult to get medicine of higher quality to him.
“I don’t know if the prison will allow the family to send him medicine or not,” Xa said.
Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by An Nguyen. Written in English by Eugene Whong.