Vietnam sentences eight human rights defender in appeal

May 27, 2013

On 23 May 2013 the appeal trials of Messrs Ho Duc Hoa, Thai Van Dung, Paulus Le Son, Nguyen Xuan Anh, Tran Minh Nhat, Nguyen Dinh Cuong, Ho Van Oanh and Nguyen Van Duyet were heard in a court in the northern city of Vinh, Vietnam. International observers were not allowed access to the hearing and there was a heavy police presence outside the court. Four of the human rights defenders had their sentences reduced, but four remained unchanged.

Paulus Le Son had his sentence reduced to four years imprisonment with four years house arrest, down from thirteen years in prison and five years house arrest; Nguyen Xuan Anh will now serve two years in prison rather than three; Ho Van Oanh’s sentence was reduced from four years to three years and six months; however, the sentences of Ho Duc Hoa, Thai Van Dung, Tran Minh Nhat and Nguyen Dinh Cuong remain unchanged.

The eight human rights defenders were arrested between August and December 2011, and were in pre-trial detention until their conviction in January 2013. They were convicted along with six other members of the Catholic organisation Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Dong Chua Cuu), and are actively involved in the promotion and protection of economic, social and cultural rights in Vietnam. All eight were sentenced under Article 79 of the Vietnamese Penal Code which refers to “carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration.”

Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - cropped calls for their immediate release and for the convictions of the human rights defenders to be quashed. For more information on this case please see the joint letter sent by seven international NGOs to the Vietnamese authorities.

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