Vietnamese Democracy Advocate's Health Failing in Prison, Wife Says

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Nguyen Trung Ton is shown after his attack by unidentified assailants in February 2017.
Nguyen Trung Ton is shown after his attack by unidentified assailants in February 2017.
Photo provided by an RFA listener

A Vietnamese pastor and democracy advocate held in custody since last July is in failing health in jail, with injuries suffered in a beating last year still not fully healed, the man’s wife says.

Nguyen Trung Ton was arrested on July 30, 2018, in a roundup of members of an online democracy group, the Brotherhood for Democracy, and is currently being held in a detention center in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi.

Ton, who is still waiting to be tried, is in constant pain from his injuries, his wife Nguyen Thi  Lanh told RFA’s Vietnamese Service in an interview.

“His right leg still hurts from his previous surgery, while his left leg has not yet been treated and his vision is blurry,” Lanh said. “He is still seriously injured.”

“I just want his [investigation] file to be completed and sent to the court, and for his lawyer to ask permission for him to be treated at the Thanh Hoa provincial hospital where he had his surgery before,” she said.

“He was watched by police and beaten, and now he’s being charged with violating Article 79 [of Vietnam’s Penal Code, related to ‘activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration’], Lanh said.

“All of this is so unjust,” she said.

In February 2017, Ton was abducted by unknown assailants and taken to a forest in a mountainous area of Ha Tinh province, where he was beaten in an hours-long ordeal leaving him with a torn ligament and crushed leg muscles.

Later arrested by Vietnamese security officers because of his online advocacy of democracy in the one-party communist state, Ton was accused of plotting to overthrow the government and charged under Article 79.

Taken into custody at around the same time were fellow Brotherhood for Democracy members Nguyen Van Tuc, Pham Van Troi, Truong Minh Duc, and Nguyen Bac Truyen, according to information provided by relatives and the website of Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security.

A sixth member of the group, human rights attorney and activist Nguyen Van Dai, was jailed earlier, and in May received an award in absentia from the German Association of Judges, the Deutscher Richterbund, honoring him for his work in human rights.

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.

Comments (1)

Hate Communist

from ghet bac Ho

As a child; I once fought a bully while on school’s playground and my mom scolded me harshly for it– she was a school teacher (Girls don’t get fighting!)! I remembered how angry she was for I resorted to violence. In her long dress, she hunched down to meet my eyes, she demanded me to think more clearly. Hey, what about my fat lips, mom?
These goons need to do the same. Our people aren’t sheep! They are beautiful thinking entities, filled with aspirations to do more and to become more, and love VN with an endearing passion than you goons will ever imagine or hope for. You can’t silence us!!! You are at odds with Heaven and Earth! Your Party will fall if it doesn’t change.
You goons think that you have the voices of freedom suppressed and caged, but you don’t! Our people will rise relentlessly.

Mar 02, 2018 01:44 PM





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