Vietnamese Authorities Detain Pro-Democracy Activist


2015-09-25
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vietnam-tran-anh-kim-trial-dec29-2009.jpg This screen shot from closed-circuit television shows the trial of Tran Anh Kim (C) in the northern Vietnamese city of Thai Binh, Dec. 28, 2009.
Viet Nam Out/AFP

The whereabouts of Vietnamese former political prisoner Tran Anh Kim, who was detained by police on Monday, remain unknown, according to the pro-democracy activist’s wife.

Several police officers arrested Kim, 66, who lives in Thai Binh city in the northern coastal province of the same name, before 10 a.m., Nguyen Thi Thom told RFA’s Vietnamese Service on Tuesday.

Police also went to Thom’s office and told her they had a summons for her to go to the city's police headquarters, she said.

“They let me sit there until 4:30 p.m. when they let me go home,” she said.

When she arrived home, Kim had not yet returned and his belongings were gone, Thom said.

Police had claimed that a declaration on his computer provided undeniable evidence of illegal activities, so they had obtained a search order, she said. During their search, they also confiscated Thom’s cell phone.

Kim, the former deputy head of the military political department of Thai Binh province, was sentenced on Dec. 28, 2009, to five-and-a-half years in prison and three years’ probation on charges of inciting to overthrow the government under Article 79 of the Penal Code.

He was accused of belonging to a banned political organization called the Democratic Party of Vietnam and inciting people to join another illegal pro-democracy group known as Bloc 8406. 

The authoritarian government frequently prosecutes Vietnamese democracy and human rights advocates under Article 79.

Kim completed his sentence and was released on Jan. 7, 2015.

Thirteen Vietnamese social activists and dissidents said they had been beaten by police and taken into custody on Jan. 21 when they visited Kim, who was then on probation.

Authorities detained them for several hours before forcing them to confess that they had broken the law by visiting Kim, VOA reported.

At the time, Kim told RFA that the police were still contacting him and trying to silence him for speaking up for social rights.

Reported by Gia Minh of RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Viet Ha. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

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