Bui Van Tham

Current Status: Sentenced

Photo of Bui Van Tham

Other Names: Bùi Văn Thâm

Date of Birth: 1987

Gender: M

Religion: Buddhist (Hoa Hao)

Ethnicity: Kinh


Latest Prison: Chau Doc city detention center, An Giang province

Areas of Activism:

  • Anti-corruption
  • Religious freedom

Known Affiliations:

Arrest History

Arrest 1

July 26, 2012
September 21, 2012
2 years 6 months in prison
  • Art. 245
January 26, 2015

Arrest 2

June 26, 2017
February 9, 2018
6 years in prison
  • Art. 245
  • Art. 257
June 26, 2023


May 2018:

On May 24, a Vietnamese Court in An Giang province denied Bui Van Tham's and five other Hoa Hao Buddhists' appeals of their February 2018 sentences. 

For more background on the harassment of members of the Hoa Hao Buddhist sect, you can view this video (in Vietnamese, with English subtitles), which highlights the struggle of Hoa Hao Buddhist and former political prisoner Mai Thi Dung, who endured horrible treatment in prison.


First Arrest:

Bui Van Tham was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison on September 21, 2012, after his July 2012 arrest under Article 245 of the 1999 Criminal Code. He was released in January 2015. 

Second Arrest:

February 2018:

Six Hoa Hao Buddhists: Bui Van Trung, Bui Van Tham, Nguyen Hoang Nam, Le Thi Hong Hanh, Le Thi Hen, and Bui Thi Bich Tuyen were tried on February 9 in An Giang province. Bui Van Tham was charged under Article 257 (“resisting persons in the performance of their official duties”) and Article 245 (“causing public disorder”), while the other five were charged under Article 245 of the 1999 Criminal Code. Trung and Tham were sentenced to six years in prison; Nam was sentenced to four; Hanh and Tuyen were sentenced to three; and Hen was given a two-year suspended sentence. According to the indictment by the People's Procuracy of An Phu district on November 30, 2017 (available in Vietnamese here), the defendants "disturbed the public order and impacted the safety and order of the traffic, causing a traffic jam on national route 91C by hindering, obstructing, pushing, and screaming to provoke and denounce transportation police." According to supporters, this is a case of repression against Hoa Hao Buddhist disciples who came for the commemoration of the death of Bui Van Trung's mother at Ut Trung sangha. The cermony was violently attacked by authorities. 

May 2018:

On May 24, a Vietnamese Court in An Giang province denied Bui Van Tham's and five other Hoa Hao Buddhists' appeals of their February 2018 sentences. Authorities tried to prohibit relatives and other Hoa Hao Buddhist followers from attending the appeal trial in support of the six.


February 2018:

Human Rights Watch called on the Vietnamese government to halt the trial and take time to evaluate whether this was a case of persecution and discrimination based on religious belief. “The government should stop harassing and arresting those who belong to unsanctioned religious groups and leave people to practice their faith as they see fit," said Brad Adams, Asia Director, in the appeal

The EU's External Action division also denounced the sentences, calling on Vietnam to release those jailed for their beliefs and peaceful practices and to uphold international human rights obligations to protect freedom of religion.

Profile last updated: 2018-05-28 14:18:20