Truong Minh Duc
Current Status: Sentenced
Other Names: Trương Minh Đức
Date of Birth: August 10, 1960
Latest Prison: Prison No. 6, Nghe An province
Areas of Activism:
- Human rights
- Land rights
- Brotherhood for Democracy
- Viet Labour Movement
- Vietnam Populist Party
- Art. 258
- Art. 79
Authorities have transferred political prisoner Truong Minh Duc to a prison far from home, and his family was not notified in advance of the move. This is an unjust but common tactic used to isolate prisoners from support networks. Duc was transferred from detention center B14 in Hanoi to prison No. 6 in Thanh Chuong, Nghe An province.
Truong Minh Duc is a journalist and labor rights activist. He is also member of the Broterhood for Democracy, which was founded by imprisoned human rights lawyey Nguyen Van Dai. Duc has often been targeted for his activism, having been physically attacked on more than one ocassion.
Truong Minh Duc was arrested in May 2007 and tried in 2008 under Article 258 of the 1999 Criminal Code for "abusing democratic freedoms." He served a five-year prison sentence.
On April 5, in a one-day trial, six activists, whose backgrounds range from defending religious freedom, to environmental rights, to multi-party democracy, were sentenced to a combined 66 years in prison and 17 years of house arrest under Article 79 of the 1999 Criminal Code. Five of the activists are key members of the pro-democracy group, The Brotherhood for Democracy. All have been known to support political prisoners and their families and advocate for human rights. Truong Minh Duc was sentenced to 12 years in prison and three years of house arrest.
Three Brotherhood for Democracy members – Nguyen Trung Ton, Truong Minh Duc, and Pham Van Troi– as well as religious freedom activist Nguyen Bac Truyen, had their appeals denied on June 4.
He had a stroke in May of 2017, and because of that, he needs to take daily medications to prevent further episodes.
Amnesty International released an Urgent Action for Pham Van Troi, Truong Minh Duc, and Nguyen Trung Ton. The three were arrested on July 30, 2017, under Article 79 for ties to the Brotherhood for Democracy. They are being held in incommunicado detention and need access to healthcare treatment.
Several UN Rapporteurs released a letter expressing concern about the arrests and detentions of Nguyen Bac Truyen, Truong Minh Duc, Nguyen Trung Ton, Pham Van Troi, Nguyen Van Tuc, and Le Dinh Luong. They highlighted the issue that these arrests took place during a concerted crackdown on human rights activists and point out that Vietnam has international obligations to protect universal freedoms, such as the rights to freedom of expression and assembly.
Governments, advocacy groups, and individuals alike have condemned the harsh sentences against Ton and his co-defendants. “The Vietnamese government should thank them for their efforts to improve the country instead of arresting and putting them on trial," said Human Rights Watch's Asia Director, Brad Adams, in a statement ahead of the trial. The Spokesperson of the EU External Action division noted in their statement that the rights exercised by the defendants are "guaranteed by the Vietnamese Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights." The United Kingdom's Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister, Harriett Baldwin, agreed that peaceful expression of one's opinions should not be considered a crime. Heather Nauert, US State Department Spokesperson, also supported other governments and organizations in calling for the release of the prisoners and for Vietnam to uphold international obligations. "Individuals have the right to the fundamental freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly, both online and offline," she said in her statement.
After Duc's appeal trial, Amnesty International released a statement condemning the decision to uphold his and his co-defendants' sentences, saying that: "These activists have been deliberately silenced by Vietnam’s authorities for bravely speaking out in a country where freedom of expression is under attack."
Truong Minh Duc Facebook
Defend the Defenders's archives
Amnesty International, Urgent Action, Activists Held Incommunicado May Face Life in Prison, September 8, 2017
Prisoners of Conscience in Vietnam, Amnesty International, April 2018 (PDF)
Many Vietnamese Activists Detained, Charged with Subversion, Defend the Defenders, July 30, 2017
Vietnamese activists arrested in widening crackdown, Reuters, July 30, 2017
Five-year jail term for freelance journalist Truong Minh Duc, Reporters Without Borders, March 29, 2008
Six Vietnamese Activists Sentenced for 'Subversion' in Hanoi Trial, Radio Free Asia, April 5, 2018
Profile last updated: 2018-07-17 02:43:52