Vietnamese political prisoner Tran Thi Nga, after having been cut off from seeing her family for several months as part of disciplinary measures, was able to call her husband this week and a family visit to her in jail may take place next week, her husband told RFA’s Vietnamese service on Wednesday.
A human rights defender noted in Vietnam for her online activism, Nga, 40, was sentenced on July 25 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.
Nga’s husband, Phan Van Phong, told RFA he spoke to her for five minutes on Tuesday.
“First of all, she complained about my note advising her to accept wearing prison attire so that she would be allowed to see relatives. She told me not do that anymore, as she knows how to behave,” Phong said.
“Then she asked about the health of all relatives and talked with our kids,” he added.
Last month Phong had received a phone call from an anonymous woman who said she was Nga’s cellmate and had just been released. The woman said Nga was not allowed to see her family or to use her monthly five-minute phone call to her husband.
No reason was given for Nga’s punishment, but Phong said that prison authorities had told him before that Nga always displayed a “protest attitude” since she was brought to her current prison.
On Wednesday Phong also said authorities indicated that he and the couple’s two children would be able to meet Nga.
Phong said he was planning a trip to faraway Gia Trung Prison on June 12 for a family reunion.
In March, Nga was transferred to a distant prison -- a prison in Gia Long Province, more than 1,000 km (620 miles) from her home in Ha Nam -- without informing her family. Such transfers are apparently designed by authorities to increase prisoners’ isolation and make it difficult for family and friends to visit them.
Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by An Nguyen. Written in English by Paul Eckert.