A well-known Vietnamese blogger and human rights advocate was taken into custody on Thursday by local police, who later returned to search her home where they confiscated her laptop computer, camera, books, and other personal items, her husband said.
Huynh Thuc Vy, a co-founder of the advocacy group Vietnamese Women for Human Rights, was seized by police in Dak Lak province’s Buon Ho town after refusing previous summons to come in to their offices for questioning, Vy’s husband Le Khanh Duy told RFA’s Vietnamese Service.
“At 7:00 a.m. this morning, two officers from the commune police came to our house to give Vy a sixth summons, saying she had already received and ignored five others. After that, around 30 policemen including plainclothes officers came and took her away,” he said.
Around an hour later, another group of 30 to 40 came to search their house, Duy said.
“They searched for about two to three hours, and took away her laptop, camera, iphone, books, and clothes,” said Duy, who later sent RFA a copy of the search warrant presented by the Buon Ho police.
Rights group Amnesty International slammed Vy’s arrest in a statement Thursday, calling it “nothing more than a politically-motivated attempt to silence one of the most powerful voices for human rights in Vietnam.”
“Through her activism and blogging in support of the rights of women, minorities and human rights in general, Huynh Thuc Vy has worked tirelessly to expose violations and hold the powerful to account,” said Amnesty International’s Director of Global Operations Clare Algar.
“We urge the authorities of Dak Lak province to immediately and unconditionally release Huynh Thuc Vy and call on Viet Nam’s government to end its systematic suppression of peaceful activism.”
In a separate incident on Aug. 8, a group of unidentified men gathered outside the home of activist blogger Nguyen Lan Thang, demanding that he come outside to talk with them about what they called his “reactionary acts,” Thang told RFA on Thursday.
“I was not at home, but neighbors called me to say there was a group of people claiming to be injured war veterans who were shouting and making a lot of noise outside my house,” said Thang.
“There were at least four of them, and they had loudspeakers,” Thang said.
Thang’s wife called the police, who promised to come by but never arrived, he said.
“After a while, they bought duck meat and sat down to eat, and at about 7:00 p.m. they called someone on the phone and told them they had ‘done their work.’”
“They told my neighbors that this was their ‘mission’ and that they would return the next day,” he said.
A regular contributor to RFA, Thang is also a member of the No-U FC soccer club, a dissident group that protests China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.
China’s claims and construction of artificial islands in the region have sparked frequent anti-China protests in Vietnam, which the one-party communist government in Hanoi fears as a potential threat to its own political control.
Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Viet Ha. Written in English by Richard Finney.