Bloggers, Activists Stage Starvation Strike Over Vietnam Jail Situations    | Voice of America

A blogger who was arrested after filming a poisoning protest has starved to death at the Di Diem prison in Vietnam, along with two other conscientious objectors.

Nguyen Van Hoa, 25, a blogger and Radio Free Asia (RFA) Vietnam Service correspondent, opposes prisons by human rights activist Nguyen Bac Truyen and blogger and activist Pham Van Diep.

Calling for his home, Truyen said he began to starve himself in November and will continue to do so until the prison and aid help, his wife, Bui Thi Kim Phuong, told VOA Vietnamese on November 28.

“He told me what led to the hunger strike and the illegal actions of the prison guards. “They have been protesting against the lack of medical care and confiscation of letters from inmates to their families without explanation,” said Phuong.

Truyen tried to send two letters home in April, but prison officials refused, according to Phuong, without elaborating.

In 2019, Truyen submitted a request to prison officials in An Diem, which is overseen by the Ministry of State Security, to investigate and evaluate medical experts, but the request was ignored, Phuong said.

“It’s been three years since he was arrested, and he hasn’t been asked to get tested,” he said.

Several inmates also requested that they be transferred to prisons near their families. Conscientious prisoners are often housed far away from their homes, making it easier for their families to visit.

Truyen’s parents and his wife live in Ho Chi Minh City. His parents cannot travel the 900 miles[900 km]to the prison to see him, and Phuong is said to be ill when you visit regularly because of the long journey, the journey takes 14 to 16 hours if you are traveling by train or car.

Decreasing health

Blogger Hoa’s health is very poor, his sister Nguyen Thi Hue said. After speaking to the RFA’s Vietnamese Service on November 27, the next day when he saw his last brother, he had been hungry for at least eight days.

“I couldn’t believe it was him because he looked sick and tired, and he had to be helped by someone who helped him walk to the gym because he was too weak to walk alone,” Hue said. “This is the first time in the last four years that I have seen my brother’s health deteriorate.”

Hue said his brother told him that the prison guards had taken the letters they wanted to send him and forbade him to tell his friends about their wrongdoing and how it was at the camp with his foreign friends.

The Ministry of Homeland Security has not responded to a VOA Vietnamese email requesting an explanation of the famine.

Phuong told VOA Vietnamese that her husband and other inmates understand the dangers of prolonged starvation but said this was the last resort because they believed they had no other way to solve the problem.

Demands for freedom

Truyen had previously gone on strike. In May 2019, Christian Solidarity International, religious or religious rights in the UK, also claimed that Truyen and three others staged a protest to protest Hoa’s persecution.

In a statement last week, Mervyn Thomas, co-founder of the organization, said, “The fact that Nguyen Bac Truyen and others are being forced to go hungry because the only way to comply with their demands reflects the tragic reality of conscientious objectors in Vietnam.”

The photo from the Vietnam News Agency, taken on November 27, 2017, shows activist Nguyen Van Hoa standing trial at a local court in the central region of Ha Tinh.

Thomas added, “[We] Encourage Vietnamese authorities to ensure that those fighting for human rights in the country are free to do so without fear of persecution, abuse or imprisonment. ”

In October, the Norwegian human rights organization Stefanus Alliance International presented Truyen with his Stefanus Award for his work promoting human rights in Vietnam, including religious freedom.

The 52-year-old protagonist is a Hoa Hao Buddhist and has been fighting for the fundamental rights of minority religions and other rights in Vietnam. Two Hoa Hao Buddhist groups exist in Vietnam: one with government support, and one unregistered group, where Truyen is.

On July 30, 2017, Truyen was beaten and arrested by uniformed police officers while waiting for his wife outside his office in Ho Chi Minh City. On April 5, 2018, a court sentenced him to 11 years and three years in prison on “charges of plotting to overthrow the government.”

Recorded demonstrations

Blogger Hoa was arrested on November 27, 2017, after filming demonstrations outside the Formosa Plastics Group metal plant in Taiwan. The same poison spill in 2016 killed about 115 tons of fish and left fishermen and tourist workers unemployed in four central states. Hoa, who co-authored and produced RFA videos, was arrested on January 11, 2017, for allegedly using “democratic freedoms to violate government interests.”

The charges were later filed as “false accusations against the government.” Hoa spent seven years in prison, then three years.

The RFA and VOA are both independent networks supported by the US Congress.

The third person to fight for hunger, Diep, is a 54-year-old protester from the northern province of Thanh Hoa. In 2019 Diep was sentenced to nine years in prison for publishing “numerous misrepresentations against the Communist Party and the Vietnamese government.” Diep is a human rights activist and anti-government activist who used his blog and later his Facebook account to discuss human rights abuses.

Vietnam was voted “uncomfortable” in the internet and in the freedom of the press by Freedom House, the US governing body.

Unlimited Journalists occupy Vietnam 175 out of 180, of which 1 is the most free, in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index. About 25 journalists and bloggers are being held in Vietnam prisons, “where torture is rampant,” the Paris administration said.

This article is from VOA Vietnamese.

Comments are closed.