Jailed Vietnamese democracy activist Nguyen Trung Ton, a member of the online Brotherhood for Democracy advocacy group, is in failing health in prison and unable to walk owing to an untreated injury suffered in a beating two years ago, according to his wife.
Nguyen, who is serving a 12-year prison term, is now seriously ill and is being denied medical treatment by prison authorities, his wife Nguyen Thi Lanh told RFA’s Vietnamese Service on Tuesday.
“On Oct. 22, my husband called me and told me about his health,” she said.
“He said that he had sent a petition asking for treatment, because in February 2017 his knee was injured after he was beaten up by police. Doctors told him that he needs follow-up visits once a month, but he has not been able to have visits since his arrest,” she said.
“Prison authorities have not allowed me to send him any medication, and now he can’t walk and is very ill,” she said.
In February 2017, Nguyen—a Protestant pastor and rights activist—was abducted and taken to a forest in a mountainous area of Ha Tinh province, where he was beaten in an hours-long ordeal leaving him with a torn ligament and crushed leg muscles.
Arrested on July 30, 2017 by Vietnamese security officers because of his online advocacy of democracy in the one-party communist state, Nguyen was accused of plotting to overthrow the government and charged under Article 79 of Vietnam’s penal code.
Taken into custody at around the same time were fellow Brotherhood for Democracy members Nguyen Van Tuc, Pham Van Troi, Truong Minh Duc, and Nguyen Bac Truyen, according to information provided by relatives and the website of Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security.
Judicial authorities in Hanoi handed down harsh prison terms to Nguyen and five other Brotherhood for Democracy members on April 5, 2018, earning the condemnation of international rights groups who had called for the charges of subversion to be dropped.
Vietnam’s one-party communist government is currently detaining at least 130 political prisoners, including rights advocates and bloggers deemed threats to national security, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch.
It also controls all media, censors the internet, and restricts basic freedoms of expression.
Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Viet Ha. Written in English by Richard Finney.