Vietnamese political prisoner ‘starved’ for two weeks

Dang Dinh Bach’s wife said he hasn’t been getting canteen food or supplies from his family.
By RFA Vietnamese
2024.03.18
Vietnamese political prisoner ‘starved’ for two weeks Activist Dang Dinh Bach in court in Feb. 2022
People’s Police Newspaper

Political prisoner Dang Dinh Bach spent a fortnight without food during the first two weeks of March, his wife told Radio Free Asia.

Bach is the head of the nonprofit Center for Research on Law and Policy for Sustainable Development. He was arrested on June 24, 2021 and convicted a year later.

The lawyer is serving a five-year sentence at a prison in Vietnam’s Nghe An province after being convicted of tax evasion.

His wife, Tran Phuong Thao, said he called home on Feb. 27 to say that he had run out of the food sent by his family and hadn’t received prison rations since last September.

The next day, she sent a guaranteed delivery parcel of 6 kilograms of dry food, but when she met Bach on March 12 he said he hadn’t received it.

 “I have a delivery notice from the Vietnam Post Office showing that the parcel I sent to Mr. Bach was successfully delivered at 9:25 a.m. on March 4, there was the signature of an officer of Detention Center No. 6 named San,” she said.

The prison warden admitted the parcel had been received and said he didn’t know why it hadn’t been handed over to Bach. He promised a review of the case.

Thao said her husband went hungry for two weeks because he couldn’t buy what he wanted in the prison.

“Food is sometimes sold in the canteen, sometimes not,” she said.

“There are times when for two to three days he can’t buy anything at the canteen because they say the things he needs aren’t there.”

Bach now weighs only 40 kilograms (6 stone 4 pounds) compared to 65 kilograms before his arrest.

He sometimes has to soak dry food like instant noodles in cold water because the prison won’t provide boiling water.

RFA called Detention Center No.6 to ask about Bach’s treatment but no one answered.

US Senate speaks up for Bach

In a post on X on Feb. 27, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee wrote: “Environmental lawyer & human rights defender Dang Dinh Bach was sentenced to 5 yrs in prison on politically motivated charges for standing up for climate justice & human rights in Vietnam.”

Bach is one of six environmental activists jailed recently. The others are journalist Mai Phan Loi and her colleague Bach Hong Duong, environmental activists Nguy Thi Khanh and Hoang Thi Minh Hong, and clean energy expert Ngo Thi To Nhien.

Translated by RFA Vietnamese. Edited by Mike Firn and Taejun Kang.

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