Vietnamese prisoner of conscience Trinh Ba Tu twice denied a family visit this month

The punishment comes after Tu went on hunger strike following beatings and solitary confinement.
By RFA Vietnamese
Vietnamese prisoner of conscience Trinh Ba Tu twice denied a family visit this month A file photograph of Trinh Ba Tu, and the signboard for Prison No. 6 in Nghe An province.
Facebook: Trinh Ba Tu/RFA edit

Trinh Ba Tu, who is serving an eight-year sentence at a prison in central Vietnam’s Nghe An province, has not been allowed to see his family this month, in spite of two visits.

On Oct. 15, his father Trinh Ba Khiem went to Prison Camp No. 6 to visit his son, but was refused.

"I just went there on October 15 to ask about Trinh Ba Tu's health, but a police officer who covered Trinh Ba Tu's area answered 'normal'," said Khiem who is a former prisoner of conscience.

Ten days ago, Khiem visited the prison again to see his son. Prison authorities refused the visit and wouldn’t let Khiem provide food for his son on the grounds that Tu was still being disciplined.

During a visit last month Tu told his father he had been beaten and left in solitary confinement for 10 days with his feet shackled.  An unnamed prison official said Tu was disciplined "for writing false accusations." The official then told Khiem he could see Tu once in September and not at all in October.

Khiem said the family was very worried about the health of their second son.

“On Sept. 20, Trinh Ba Tu said he had been on hunger strike for 14 days,” Khiem said.

“Since that day, I have not heard any news… and I do not know if he has stopped his hunger strike or not."

According to Article 43 of the 2019 Law on Execution of Criminal Judgments there are three forms of discipline for prisoners: reprimand, warning, and detention in a solitary cell for up to 10 days. During their time in solitary, prisoners are not allowed to see their relatives and may have their feet shackled.

Last month, shortly after returning from prison, Trinh Ba Khiem filed a petition with the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security to request an investigation into his son’s beating but has received no response.

RFA called the prison on Monday to verify Khiem’s claims, but no one answered the phone.

Trinh Ba Tu, 33, along with his mother Can Thi Theu and his brother Trinh Ba Phuong have been land rights activists for many years.

Theu and her two sons were arrested on June 24, 2020 on charges of "conducting propaganda against the state." Theu and Tu were sentenced to eight years in prison and eldest son Phuong was sentenced to ten years.

Prison No. 6 is located in an area of the Central region with the harshest climate. Many former prisoners have told RFA the warden and guards treat prisoners of conscience extremely harshly.

In 2019, former teacher Dao Quang Thuc died in Prison No. 6 while serving a 13-year sentence. In August this year, citizen journalist Do Cong Duong also died there. Both men were healthy before being transferred to the prison camp.


Add your comment by filling out the form below in plain text. Comments are approved by a moderator and can be edited in accordance with RFAs Terms of Use. Comments will not appear in real time. RFA is not responsible for the content of the postings. Please, be respectful of others' point of view and stick to the facts.