Vietnamese political prisoner punished in solitary confinement

Authorities haven’t told relatives why they disciplined Dang Dang Phuoc.
By RFA Vietnamese
2024.05.20
Vietnamese political prisoner punished in solitary confinement Music instructor Dang Dang Phuoc in front of the family altar.
Facebook: Dang Dang Phuoc

Authorities at Vietnam’s Xuan Phuoc prison have punished political prisoner Dang Dang Phuoc, putting him in solitary confinement for violating unspecified regulations, his wife told Radio Free Asia.

Le Thi Ha said her husband may have been punished for asking her to forward his cellmate’s phone number to his family.

When she visited Phuoc on May 9, her husband gave her a piece of paper with the number on, but prison officers confiscated it.

She told RFA Vietnamese she received a notice from the prison on Sunday telling her Phuoc was being disciplined. The letter, dated May 10, said he had violated prison regulations but did not say what he had done.

Phuoc was kept in solitary confinement in a disciplinary cell from May 10 to 20. In addition, visits from relatives will be cut to once every two months, from once a month, until his attitude improves, she said.

According to the Law on Execution of Criminal Sentences, during detention in the disciplinary cell, prisoners can be chained to the spot but Ha said she didn’t know whether her husband had been shackled.

She said she was worried about the halving of family visits because prison rations lack nutrition, and she wanted to make sure her husband got enough decent food. 

Ha added she would apply to the Phu Yen Provincial Procuracy to complain about her husband being disciplined.

An officer at Xuan Phuoc prison declined to comment on his behavior but said that prisoners who are disciplined are put in solitary confinement for 10 days.

Phuoc, 62, is a former music lecturer at Dak Lak Pedagogical College. He was arrested on Sept. 8, 2022, on charges of “anti-state propaganda.”

He was sentenced to eight years in prison and four years of probation at his trial in June 2023. After losing an appeal, he was sent to Xuan Phuoc prison in Phu Yen province.

Phuoc is one of hundreds of activists being detained for peaceful activities. International organizations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have called on Vietnam to drop the charges and release him.

Before being arrested, he had demanded that Vietnam ensure civil and political rights, including freedom of speech, expression, association, assembly and religion. He also publicly opposed Vietnam’s repressive 2018 Cyber ​​Security law and spoke out against polluters such as Formosa Plastics, a Taiwanese company that dumped toxic waste along the central coast of Vietnam in 2016.

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

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