Senator Ngo calls for the immediate release of Tran Huynh Duy Thuc
[For immediate release]- August 25, 2021
Today, Senator Thanh Hai Ngo issued the following Statement in response to reports of prisoner of conscience Tran Huynh Duy Thuc’s intentions to resume his hunger strike (his third since the end of 2020) should the appeal to end his illegal 16-year prison term be rejected.
This once successful engineer and entrepreneur, was arbitrarily detained in May 2009 and initially charged with ‘theft of telephone wires’; which later was changed to an indictment under Article 79 of Vietnam’s Penal Code for ‘subversion’ or ‘activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration’ handing him a sentence of 16 years of imprisonment. Having served almost 12 years of the 16-year sentence, he is urging the High Court to consider his request to have it reduced in accordance with the new Penal Code of 2015 –which now carries a maximum term of 5 years in prison and which no longer considers his ‘crime’ as ‘subversion’. Mr. Thuc, who remains steadfast in his conviction that freedom of speech is not a crime, is prepared to die of hunger if the ‘subversion’ charge is not reassessed and reduced.
While Tran Huynh Duy Thuc is literally at the brink of death, prison authorities, the judiciary and high officials continue to turn a deaf ear to his plight and that of hundreds of other prisoners of conscience unjustly and arbitrarily detained simply for peacefully exercising their fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in two international treaties – the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, ratified by Vietnam in 1982 and 2015, respectively.
Mr. Thuc’s tragic predicament is not isolated and represents the collective plea for justice of all those unjustly incarcerated by this criminal and cruel socialist system. In the eventual death of Tran Huynh Duy Thuc – and all those who perish at the mercy of the Vietnamese government’s colossal failure to uphold its international obligations – officials responsible should be brought before the International Criminal Court, held criminally liable and indicted under the full force of international law.
For more information, please contact:
Office of the Honourable Thanh Hai Ngo
United Nations Human Rights (OHCHR) – Opinions adopted by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention at its sixty-fourth session, 27–31 August 2012 → (Select “E” at the right of the page for the English version)