Tran Hoang Phuc

Current Status: Sentenced

Photo of Tran Hoang Phuc

Other Names: Trần Hoàng Phúc

Date of Birth: April 30, 1994

Gender: M


Ethnicity: Kinh

Occupation: Student

Latest Prison: Hanoi Police Detention Center No. 1, Hanoi

Areas of Activism:

  • Environment
  • Human rights

Known Affiliations:

  • Vietnamese Students for Human Rights

Arrest History

June 29, 2017
January 31, 2018
6 years in prison
  • Art. 88
June 29, 2023
Defense Counsels: Dang Dinh Manh; Nguyen Van Mieng; Le Van Luan


August 2018:

Tran Hoang Phuc and his co-defendants, Vu Quang Thuan and Nguyen Van Dien, plan to appeal to the Supreme Court after their sentences were upheld on appeal. 

July 2018:

Huynh Thi Ut, Tran Hoang Phuc's mother, wrote a letter to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights with details about Phuc's conditions in prison and to thank the Office for its support of Phuc's case. Phuc had asked his mother to write the letter, as he was not given supplies in prison to be able to write the letter himself. In the letter, she describes difficult day-to-day conditions that have contributed to Phuc losing significant weight since being imprisoned; Phuc's hepatitis C is also not being treated. She adds that, "Inmates are allowed to read only Ha Noi Moi newspaper from the city’s Party printed on Monday-Friday. Phuc’s family is not allowed to send him books officially printed by state agencies. Phuc has not been supplied with pens and papers to write letters to his family nor permitted to make calls to his family as others do."

Phuc is a law student from Ho Chi Minh City. He is a bright, award-winning student but was prevented from graduating from law school in 2016 due to his activism.

Phuc is the founder and President of the Vietnamese Students for Human Rights Association. He is also a member of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), a U.S. government leadership development and networking program in Southeast Asia. He was invited to meet with U.S. President Obama in 2016 during Obama’s visit in Vietnam but was blocked by police from attending the meeting. Phuc has participated in environmental rights protests and campaigns to seek compensation for those affected by the 2016 Formosa environmental disaster.

Tran Hoang Phuc was kidnapped by police in Hanoi from his apartment, on June 29, 2017. Phuc, 23 at the time, was officially charged on July 3, 2017, under Article 88, for Internet postings, particularly for video content.

He was tried on January 31, 2018, by the People's Court of Hanoi together with Nguyen Van Dien and Vu Quang Thuan. They were charged under clause 1 of Art. 88 of the 1999 Criminal Code. Phuc received a six year sentence and four years of house arrest. According to the indictment, Vu Quang Thuan and Nguyen Van Dien were accused of posting 17 video clips on the Internet and possessing materials with anti-socialist state content; Tran Hoang Phuc was accused of helping them in storing the materials and posting 3 of the 17 clips. 

March 2018:

Vu Quang Thuan, Tran Hoang Phuc, and Nguyen Van Dien appealed their January 31, 2018, sentences. 
July 2018:
Phuc and his co-defendants' appeals were denied. Family members were not allowed to attend the appeal trial, and the court still refused to show the videos in question in the indictment; the videos were also blocked at the first trial in January. Defense lawyer Ha Huy Son said of the move: "This left both the convicted men and their lawyers with no way to debate the prosecutors. In other words, the court issued its ruling without considering the evidence, which is a violation of Vietnamese law."

Prior to arrest:

On April 13, 2017, Phuc and activist Huynh Thanh Phat were attacked and left in a rural location by plainclothes assailants. Their case is one of many highlighted in Human Rights Watch's "No Country for Human Rights Activists" June 2017 report on attacks on activists in Vietnam.

May 2018:

Five Vietnamese lawyers have appealed to the government to improve medical treatment for Tran Hoang Phuc. Phuc is suffering from hepatitis C while imprisoned and has not been able to receive medication from his family, despite having a prescription from an independent facility. His mother has also still been unable to visit him since his arrest in June 2017.

Phuc has not been able to meet with his family since the arrest.

July 2018:

Amnesty International condemned the original sentences of Phuc and his co-defendants and called for their dismissal ahead of the appeal trial, with their Senior Director of Global Operations Minar Pimple saying: "These three men have committed no crime; they have merely used social media to express opinions that the authorities do not like – namely by supporting the protection of human rights and social justice in the country." The US Embassy in Vietnam released a statement following the appeal trial expressing disappointment in the outcome. 

The 88 Project's archives

Defend the Defenders's archives

Vietnamese Students for Human Rights Association

Vietnam police detain blogger for anti-state propaganda, mother says, Reuters, July 7, 2017 

No Country for Human Rights Activists, Human Rights Watch, June 18, 2017 (PDF)

Prisoners of Conscience in Vietnam, Amnesty International, April 2018 (PDF)

US Calls on Vietnam to Free Jailed Rights Activists, Other 'Prisoners of Conscience,' Radio Free Asia, July 11, 2018

Profile last updated: 2018-08-12 23:59:23