Tran Huynh Duy Thuc

Current Status: Sentenced

Photo of Tran Huynh Duy Thuc

Other Names: Trần Huỳnh Duy Thức, Trần Đông Chấn

Date of Birth: November 29, 1966

Gender: M

Religion: Buddhist

Ethnicity: Kinh

Occupation: Entrepreneur

Latest Prison: Prison No. 6, Nghe An province

Areas of Activism:

  • Democracy
  • Economic reform

Known Affiliations:

Arrest History

May 24, 2009
January 20, 2010
16 years in prison
  • Art. 79
May 24, 2025

Details

January 2018:

January 20 marked eight years since blogger and entrepreneur Tran Huynh Duy Thuc was sentenced to sixteen years under Art. 79 and 88 of the 1999 Criminal Code. Thuc still has half of his prison sentence remaining.

October 2017:

Thuc's immediate situation in prison has improved, and the authorities have somewhat lessened the harsh tactics used against him. However, his long-term health and wellbeing remain concerns.

Tran Huynh Duy Thuc is an engineer and entrepreneur from Ho Chi Minh City. He founded EIS, a successful Internet phone service company in Vietnam with two branches in Singapore and the U.S. It was the first Vietnamese company to invest in high technologies abroad.

Thuc founded the Chan research group to study about the economy, politics, and society of Vietnam and some other countries. He blogged about social, political, and economic issues in Vietnam under the pen name Tran Dong Chan.

Thuc was arrested on May 24, 2009 and held in pre-trial detention, where he was possibly tortured in attempts to solicit a coerced confession. He was initially arrested for "theft of telephone wires," but later charged under Article 79 for subversion. He was tried on January 20, 2010 with three co-defendants (Nguyen Tien Trung, Le Cong Dinh, and Le Thang Long) in Ho Chi Minh City. He was sentenced to sixteen years in prison and five years of probation.

His and his co-defendant's detentions were deemed arbitrary by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in 2012. He has been adopted by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) as part of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Comission’s Defending Freedoms Project.

Throughout his imprisonment, Thuc has endured harsh treatment. He has often been targeted for standing up for the rights of other prisoners and has had communication with family limited by the authorities. He has led hunger strikes while imprisoned, and, while he has been offered early release in exchange for leaving the country, refuses to be exiled from Vietnam.

In May of 2016, he was transferred to a prison farther away from his family. The reason for the transfer was unclear, but his distancing strategy has been used on other prisoners of conscience, and could be related to his refusal to accept an early release in exchange for exile from Vietnam.

Prior to arrest: healthy

After the arrest:

April 2017:

Thuc's family attempted to visit him but had to meet with him across from a glass divider with a phone. Supplies sent to him by the family, including copies of legal documents, tai chi exercises, and leisure reading, were denied to him by prison authorities. He has staged several hunger strikes while in prison.

October 2017:

Thuc's immediate situation in prison has somewhat improved, but he continues to suffer from poor eye health, and potentially glaucoma, as his cell's electricity was cut off previously. However, recently, the prison allowed him to receive flashlights from his family, which they previously denied him. The authorities have also recently started sending Thuc's poetry and musical compositions created in prison to his family.

Throughout his imprisonment, Thuc has endured harsh treatment. He has often been targeted for standing up for the rights of other prisoners and has had communication with family limited by the authorities. In May of 2016, he was transferred to a prison farther away from his family. The reason for the transfer was unclear, but his distancing strategy has been used on other prisoners of conscience and could be related to his refusal to accept an early release in exchange for exile from Vietnam.

Thuc is married and has two children. Thuc’s family is very active in advocating for his release; his father participated in a mini-interview series with The 88 Project in the summer of 2013. They also maintain website about his case. Thuc’s family has maintained his innocence throughout his arrest, trial, and sentence.

Followers of Thuc have started two petitions on change.org to "urge VietNam Communist Party as well as the Parliament to hold a referendum for free election and on transformation to a multi-party political regime with the attendance and monitoring of the civil society groups across the nation."

Contact us if you can assist.

August 2016:

Amnesty International released an Urgent Action regarding his prison treatment.

May 2017:

On the anniversary of his arrest, Amensty International released an open letter calling for his release.

October 2017:

Thuc was one of the focus cases of the VOICE 2017 UPR campaign to hold Vietnam accountable to its human rights obligations.

The 88 Project's archives and interviews with Thuc's father

Defend the Defender's archives

Thuc's website, run by his family

Thuc-Followers, an online community of those who agree with and follow Thuc's vision for peaceful political change in Vietnam

Viet Nam: Open Letter on Prisoner of Conscience Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, Amnesty International, May 23, 2017 (PDF)

Thuc's page on the Tom Lantos Human Rights Comission's Defending Freedoms Project

Profile last updated: 2018-01-23 06:20:50