Ottawa, April 13, 2017 – Senator Thanh Hai Ngo today made the following statement regarding the harsh sentencing of Vietnamese political dissidents on April 5, 2018:
“I condemn Vietnam’s harsh and unfair sentencing of the six human rights defenders under Article 79 of its 1999 Penal Code for ‘conducting activities to overthrow the people’s government.’
“Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thu Ha, both human rights lawyers, were arrested in 2015 while attempting to meet with EU delegates before an annual EU–Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue. Pham Van Troi, Truong Minh Duc, Nguyen Trung Ton and Nguyen Bac Truyen were arrested in July 2017 as part of a general crackdown on freedom of expression.
“As the founder of Brotherhood for Democracy, Nguyen Van Dai was sentenced to 15 years in prison and 5 years of house arrest, while the other defendants received prison sentences of between 7 and 12 years.
“This ruthless prosecution of dissidents in relation to their peaceful activism in defence of human rights and democracy is another clear violation of international human rights standards by Vietnam’s communist government.
“I am also appalled by reports indicating that at least 12 supporters of the six human rights defenders, who were waiting outside the court during the day, were arrested and detained without charge for holding signs saying ‘Democracy is not a crime,’ ‘Justice for Brotherhood for Democracy’ and ‘Stop suppressing Brotherhood for Democracy.’
“Vietnam must release all political prisoners and provide a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders pursuant to their international obligations and commitments.
“Canada must call upon Vietnam to answer for their lack of commitment to international human rights standards before it continues to engage with them through trade, namely through the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).”
For more information, please contact:
Office of the Honourable Senator Thanh Hai Ngo