Updated information from Amnesty UK on Vietnam PoCs for supporters and letter-writers
Here’s an update on a few changes in circumstances to prisoners of conscience who Amnesty’s been supporting in Vietnam and Cambodia. If you've been writing letters, or doing anything else to campaign on prisoners in Cambodia or Vietnam please read on to make sure you're up-to-date.
Nguyen Tien Trung and Vi Duc Hoi have been released from prison. Here’s the Amnesty press release, which also refers to the earlier release of another POC Cu Huy Ha Vu, who moved immediately to the United States with his wife. http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/viet-nam-prisoners-conscience-released-dozens-remain-jailed-2014-04-14
We hope to receive more information about Nguyen Tien Trung, as he has family abroad with whom Amnesty is in touch. His release appears to have been very sudden and even his family were’t informed beforehand. We understand that both he and Vi Duc Hoi will now remain under the provisions of house arrest, according to their original sentences.
Thanks to everyone for their work on Nguyen Tien Trung and Vi Duc Hoi.
Dinh Dang Dinh: Amnesty has paid tribute to Dinh Dang Dinh, the environmental activist, blogger and former prisoner of conscience, who died of stomach cancer at his home in Dak Nong province in Viet Nam’s Central Highlands at the age of 50.
Dinh Dang Dinh was diagnosed with cancer while in prison but the authorities only allowed him to be treated in hospital from January 2014, where he was kept under constant surveillance. He was released temporarily on medical grounds in February, before being released permanently in March.
A former soldier and chemistry teacher, Dinh Dang Dinh was arrested in December 2011 after he had initiated a petition against bauxite mining in the Central Highlands. He was sentenced to six years in jail in August 2012 for “conducting propaganda against the state”. His trial lasted just three hours, before an unsuccessful appeal hearing was over in 45 minutes. His right to liberty was thus denied in proceedings that were as unfair and arbitrary as the charges against him. On leaving the appeals court, he was manhandled into a truck and security officials beat him over the head with clubs.
There has also been an update on Yorm Bopha's case. Before Christmas I wrote to let you know that Yorm Bopha had been released from prison on bial. Now I’m letting you know that Amnesty would like to stop any large-scale and/or public activities about Yorm, until further notice. You should check in with me before launching any public facing actions.
We don’t yet know whether Yorm’s case is going to be suspended as the situation is quite unpredictable particularly at a time when the political landscape in Cambodia is changing, with continuing protests and a very violent response by the government. So any publicity about her case right now could do more harm than good. Yorm continues to have the possibility of a new trial hearing hanging over her, but it is unclear if or when this will actually take place.
You can continue to send appeals to the targets calling for all charges against her to be dropped. Solidarity action is still welcome, so you can send cards or messages to Yorm if you want. The address to send them to is c/o LICADHO, PO Box 499, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Amnesty will continue to monitor the situation, and will review our strategy in a few months’ time. Many thanks to all who’ve taken action for Yorm Bopha over the last few months, and everyone who sent cards to her during our Write for Rights campaign at Christmas time.
It would be great to hear from any of you who are working on prisoners or individuals at risk in Vietnam or Cambodia, either on your own or as an Amnesty Group. If you could let me know who you are campaigning on and what you’ve been doing it would be very useful as I can make sure you get all the information you need to continue with your campaigning.
Amnesty Country Co-ordinator for Vietnam and Cambodia
Tel: +44 (0) 208 333 1764
Mobile: +44 (0) 7956 512 892