A prominent imprisoned activist and blogger in Vietnam has gone on a hunger strike to protest against authorities who have forced her to wear a prison uniform and encouraged her cellmates to mistreat her, one of her family members said.
Bui Thi Minh Hang has been on a hunger strike since April 2 to protest against the decision of authorities at Gia Trung prison (Pleiku) to force her to wear prison uniform and let other cellmates mistreat her, her son Bui Trung Nhan told RFA.
He said before he went to the prison to visit his mother on Monday, she had called to inform him that she had been on a hunger strike since the beginning of the month.
“She has still been drinking water and milk during this time,” he said.
Hang also told her son that prison authorities confiscated all her regular clothes and forced her to wear a prison uniform just like other prisoners.
“I have not seen her yet, so I don’t know if she is wearing the uniform or not,” he said.
When Nahn visited his mother on Monday, she had refused to wear her prison uniform, so the guards did not let him see her, according to visiting rules, he said.
“We want to send a complaint about the fact that they did not let us see her and their ill treatment of my mother, Bui Thi Minh Hang,” he said.
Activist and protestor
In 2011, Hang had staged peaceful demonstrations condemning what Vietnamese saw as Chinese aggression in Vietnamese territory in the disputed South China Sea.
In November of that year, authorities sent her to the Thanh Ha Education Center in Binh Xuyen district, Vinh Phuc province, after arresting her a day earlier outside Notre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City for allegedly “causing public disorder.” She was freed the following year.
In February 2014, the Vietnamese government accused Hang, along with two other bloggers, of causing public disorder by creating a “serious obstruction to traffic” while they were on their way to visit a former political prisoner. While she was detained, Hang went on a hunger strike to protest her arrest.
She was later sentenced in August of that year to up to three years in jail after a one-day trial in Dong Thap in the Mekong Delta region on what rights activists said were phony and politically motivated charges.
Reported by RFA Vietnamese Service. Translated by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.