News / Asia

    Vietnam Jails Prominent Rights Activist

    File - Bui Thi Minh Hang (R), during an anti-China protest in downtown Hanoi on July 24, 2011.
    File - Bui Thi Minh Hang (R), during an anti-China protest in downtown Hanoi on July 24, 2011.
    Marianne Brown

    A prominent rights activist in Vietnam was sentenced to three years in jail Tuesday.

    Bui Thi Minh Hang is a well-known human rights activist who uses Facebook to draw attention to issues from land rights to religious and political freedom.

    After a day-long trial, she was jailed for three years for disrupting public order by creating “serious obstruction to traffic.”

    Two other activists also received jail time. Nguyen Thi Thuy Quynh and Hoa Hao Buddhist Nguyen Van Minh were each sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison.

    The three were among 21 people arrested in February as they rode motorbikes from Ho Chi Minh City to Dong Thap province to visit a former political prisoner.  The others in the group were released the next day.

    Deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch Phil Robertson said he believes the other activists were targeted to divert attention from Hang.

    "At the end of the day, they have clearly decided that she is someone they need to go after," Robertson said. "I would speculate that perhaps these other persons being detained along with her are essentially persons to allow authorities to assert that they are not just going after her, but they are going after other people as well."

    Several Hang supporters who travelled to attend the trial at Dong Thap Provincial People’s Court in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta were detained Tuesday.  

    Le Hoang, who traveled from Hanoi, was being held at the local police station. He said while he and a group of people stood on the pavement, a police bus arrived to take them to the station. He said about 30 people were detained, some in Ho Chi Minh City, and some at guest houses.

    At least 63 people were imprisoned for peaceful political expression in Vietnam in 2013, according to Human Rights Watch. The government says only those who break the law have been jailed, not people who peacefully express their views.

    Robertson views the charges of obstructing traffic against Hang as an attempt to duck international criticism.

    "These are charges which the authorities brought to try and, I think, diminish international condemnation of these charges," he said. "It becomes easier to say public disorder was the issue there, rather than say using democratic freedoms violate the interests of the state."

    The U.S. Embassy expressed deep concern about the sentencing, and called the use of public disorder laws to imprison government critics for peacefully expressing their political views “alarming”.

    The statement said, “This conviction appears to be inconsistent with the right to freedom of expression and Vietnam’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and commitments reflected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”    

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady Trip to Africa to Highlight Educational Obstacles Girls Face

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: LiveFree from: US
    August 26, 2014 2:28 PM
    When will VN communist government be going to end this kind of thuggery practice against her own people? Communist = State-sponsored Terrorist

    by: meanbill from: USA
    August 26, 2014 1:35 PM
    I DO BELIEVE.... That one of the agreements the US signed in Paris, on the 1973 Paris Peace Accord Agreement to end the Vietnam War, was that the US would never ever again take any type of military action in all of Southeast Asia, so I guess the US disapproval means nothing?...... or sanctions?.... or red lines?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora