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Vietnamese Activists Allege Police Brutality After Visiting Dissident

FILE - Policemen entrance to courthouse where former army officer Tran Anh Kim was tried, Thai Binh povince, Vietnam, Dec. 2009.

Thirteen Vietnamese social activists say they were attacked by police and taken into custody after visiting recently freed dissident Tran Anh Kim.

One activist, 80-year-old Nguyen Thanh Giang, tells VOA's Vietnamese service the incident in northern Thai Binh province highlights an alarming trend of police brutality.

“The reason of the attack, as told by police, was because we visited Kim, who they said was under probation after his release," he said, adding that some of the activists suffered bruises and other injuries and were held for seven hours before being forced to confess they broke the law by visiting Kim. His group has since filed a complaint with Vietnam's Ministry of Public Security.

A local police official, who would not give his name, declined to discuss the incident when reached by VOA.

“Sorry we don’t comment via phone. If you want to verify something, come see us in person," they said.

Tran Anh Kim, the former deputy head of Thai Binh’s military political department, was sentenced in 2009 to five-and-a-half years in prison on charges of "subversion" for pro-democracy activities. He was released earlier this month.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Vietnamese service.