Vietnamese political prisoner Tran Thi Nga was refused permission to see her husband and children on Saturday when her family came to visit, a move intended to punish her for refusing to “follow prison rules,” her husband told RFA’s Vietnamese Service.
“Prison authorities told me that she had not followed prison rules and has refused to admit guilt [in the charge for which she was convicted], so they would not let her see us,” Phan Van Phong told RFA on Sept. 29.
“I asked them to at least let her see her children, but they just said no,” he said.
Prisoners in Vietnam are normally allowed monthly visits with their families according to prison rules.
Nga, 40, was sentenced in July 2017 to nine years in prison for spreading “propaganda against the state” under Article 88 of Vietnam’s penal code, a provision frequently used to silence dissident bloggers and other activists.
Her appeal was rejected in December.
Now held at Gia Trung prison in Gia Lai province in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, Nga told her husband in August she had been beaten and threatened with death by a cellmate assigned to her by authorities, Phong told RFA in an earlier report.
Phong then appealed for her protection in a petition sent to Gia Trung prison, the ministry of police, the supreme people’s procurator, Gia Lai province judicial authorities, and international organizations, he said.
Vietnam’s one-party communist government currently holds at least 130 political prisoners, including rights advocates and bloggers deemed threats to national security, Human Rights Watch says.
It also controls all media, censors the internet, and restricts basic freedoms of expression.
Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Viet Ha. Written in English by Richard Finney.