Family Plans Visit Amid Concerns for Vietnam Political Prisoner’s Health


2019.07.01
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vietnam-truc2-080818.jpg Jailed Vietnamese democracy activist Nguyen Trung Truc is shown in an undated photo.
Photo courtesy of Nguyen Trung Truc

Nguyen Trung Truc, a jailed member of the online advocacy group Brotherhood for Democracy, is in “very weak” health and his family plans to visit him in Thanh Hoa province, his son told RFA’s Vienamese Service on Monday.

Truc, now serving a 12-year prison term on a charge of subversion, had called his family on Sunday to report his poor health.

“On June 30 at 6:45 pm from Camp 5 in Thanh Hoa, my father’s call home only lasted for about 20 seconds and we lost the signal. In about 20 seconds, my father informed the family that his current situation is very weak,” said his son, Nguyen Quang Trung.

“Before my father was imprisoned, his health condition was very good and he never complained about his health. But since he was imprisoned, my father has suffered from constant headaches and decreased vision,” he told RFA.

“My father seem to want to tell the family something more but the signal was cut off,” added Trung. He said the family called back but could not reach Truc and were planning to visit the prison in several days to check on him.

Trung said a few days before the phone call, Camp 5 authorities sent a letter to his family stating that Truc received poor marks in behavior because doesn’t follow prison rules and refuses to cooperate with the prison officers.

Meanwhile, prisoner of conscience Nguyen Van Dien, who is also being detained at Camp 5 of Thanh Hoa, called his family on Sunday and told them he intended to start a hunger strike on Monday. His phone line was cut off before he could tell his family why he was refusing food, trey told RFA.

At Detention Center No. 6, in Nghe An province, at least four prisoners of conscience reached day 19 on Saturday of their hunger strike over poor prison conditions, including the removal of electric fans from cells in soaring summer heat.

The hunger strikers include jailed Brotherhood for Democracy member Truong Minh Duc, serving 13 years for subversion; Nguyen Van Tuc, arrested in Sept. 2017 and later handed a 13-year term for “activities aimed at overthrowing the state;” and Dao Quang Thuc, convicted on the same charge in Sept. 2018 and sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Vietnam now holds an estimated 128 prisoners of conscience, according to a May 13, 2019 report by rights group Amnesty International.

Nguyen Kim Binh of Vietnam Human Rights Network said in December that the one-party communist state is currently detaining more than 200 political prisoners.

Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Channhu Hoang. Written in English by Paul Eckert.

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