Tran Huynh Duy Thuc
Current Status: Sentenced
Other Names: Trần Huỳnh Duy Thức, Trần Đông Chấn
Date of Birth: November 29, 1966
Latest Prison: Prison No. 6, Nghe An province
Areas of Activism:
- Economic reform
- Art. 79
Thuc's treatment in prison has improved modestly. Read more in the "Physical Health HIstory" section below.
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:
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.
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.
After a recent family visit, Thuc's brother reports that Thuc is confident and has a positive attitude; in addition, his treatment in prison has slightly improved, and Thuc was even permitted to hug his family after their most recent visit. He also plans to continue pressing for an appeal of his conviction.
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.
Contact us if you can assist.
Amnesty International released an Urgent Action regarding his prison treatment.
On the anniversary of his arrest, Amensty International released an open letter calling for his release.
Thuc was one of the focus cases of the VOICE 2017 UPR campaign to hold Vietnam accountable to its human rights obligations.
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: 2018-03-05 13:35:58