Personal Stories


Can Thi Theu at her trial. Source: Facebook Trinh Ba Phuong

The 88 Project, January 25, 2017: Ms. Can Thi Theu is a land rights activist from Duong Noi who was sentenced to 20 months of imprisonment in September 2016 for “disturbing public order.” In fact, she is a leading figure in the fight against land seizures and inadequate compensation of the farmers of Duong Noi. Forced evictions of farmers from their fertile lands in order to build industrial and recreational zones have been the cause of social miseries for farmers everywhere in Vietnam. Can Thi Theu’s story and the context of land confiscation in Vietnam are told in this bilingual video produced by artist Kim Chi, Hélèna Lee and friends:

Can Thi Theu’s imprisonment sentence was upheld at the appeal trial on November 30, 2016. Shortly thereafter, she was transferred from Hoa Lo prison in Hanoi to Gia Trung prison in Gia Lai, a thousand kilometers away from home. Can Thi Theu wrote a letter addressed to “landless farmers and communities at home and abroad” from Gia Trung prison on December 20, 2016. We translated and published the letter here, with the consent of her family, to share her voice with those around the world who care about her situation. Read More


Mrs Tuyet Lan and Me Nam’s children. Source: Tuyet Lan Nguyen’s Facebook

The 88 Project, January 10, 2017: It has been three months since blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh (aka Me Nam) was arrested. Her family has been able to send her food supply, but they have not been allowed to visit her. This letter was written by Mrs. Nguyen Tuyet Lan, Me Nam’s mother, before Christmas. It expresses her appreciation for those, near and far, who have spoken out for me Nam and/or supported her family during the hard time the family had to endure after Me Nam’s arrest.

We hope the international community will continue to stand with Me Nam’s family and Vietnamese activists in seeking justice for Me Nam.

Mrs. Nguyen Tuyet Lan, mother of Me Nam, December 22, 2016: After days and days with eyes filled with tears, today I manage to pull myself together to write this letter, to thank you.

I would like to send this letter to all the brothers, sisters, and people whom I have never met, those who have showed sympathy, encouraged and helped when my family and I were treated unjustly. Read More


Nguyen Quoc Huu Duy. Souce: Dan Lam Bao

Blogger Trinh Kim Tien, HCM City, December 22, 2016: Before blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh was arrested for the crime of being a peaceful civil rights activist, she had often raised her voice to support Vietnamese prisoners of conscience and victims of injustice. Among them is Nguyen Huu Quoc Duy, whose appeal trial is going to take place on December 26, 2016. The day of Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh’s arrest, October 10, 2016, was actually the day she was taking Duy’s mother to visit him in prison. Read More



One of Bui Thi Minh Hang’s sons – Tran Bui Trung – campaigning for his mother’s release (Source: Internet)


My beloved Nhan*!

I have written to you several times but I don’t know whether the letters have reached you. I did not receive any reply at all. I long to hear from you and our family very much. Please remember to reply to me.

Each month you came to visit yet I could not see you. I love you and hope you understand me, my youngest son.

Please send my greetings to Grandma, the Uncles and Aunts, the Priests, and to all of our acquaintances.

I am hoping you will send me a few family photos: your pictures, your brother Trung’s pictures, and pictures of Sister Q. Anh’s family and children. Call Aunt Hanh, Uncle Dung, as well as the whole family, and tell them to write to share the news, please.

And how about yourself, my youngest Son! Are the monthly visits [to prison] affecting your work and study? Read More

Tran Van Huynh with Thucs photo

The Parents of three prominent political prisoners. Left to right: Ms. Nguyen Thi Tram (Le Quoc Quan’s Mother); Mr. Tran Van Huynh (Tran Huynh Duy Thuc’s Father); Nguyen Thi Kim Lien (Dinh Nguyen Kha’s Mother).

This coming January 20th marks six years since Tran Huynh Duy Thuc’s trial. Three other dissidents who were tried at the same time– Le Cong Dinh, Nguyen Tien Trung, and Le Thang Long have been released. Thuc remains in jail as he received the longest sentence – 16 years of imprisonment and 5 years of probation. The struggles of Thuc in prison and of his family to defend him and advocate for his release continue.

In prison, Thuc continues to advocate for the rights of prisoners. Recently, Thuc and fellow prisoners requested the right to access and comment on the drafting of the criminal code, prior to its adoption on November 27, 2015. The prison authorities refused to accommodate their requests, under the rationale that “prisoners are not citizens.” Dinh Nguyen Kha, another political prisoner who is held in the same prison as Thuc, told his mother that Thuc was mistreated in jail because he stood up for the rights of the prisoners. Indeed, the prison authorities have been making Thuc’s communication with his family, as well as his access to information, very difficult. Read More

Bui Thi Minh Hang is one of the twenty women prisoners highlighted in the FreeThe20 Women Political Prisoners and Prisoners of Concern campaign which was launched by the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Samantha Power in September 2015.

In the Ambassador’s words: “In naming these women, we are also seeking to send a message to the 20 prisoners and their families, and to others like them: We have not forgotten about you. We will keep pressing for your governments to free you. We will continue to remind people of what is lost when you are excluded not only from the conversations like the one coming up in New York, but from your communities and your societies. We will insist on reminding the world how much we lose when your voices are silenced – today and every day that you are behind bars.”

Please check out the video in which Ambassador Power personally told Bui Thi Minh Hang’s story and called for her release:

Source: Ambassador Samantha Power’s Facebook page

The 88 Project is pleased to learn that blogger and former police officer Ta Phong Tan has been released early from her 10-year prison sentence in Vietnam. Tan, though, has been exiled from Vietnam and sent to the United States.

Tan was arrested in 2011, tried in 2012, and charged under Article 88 of Vietnam’s Penal Code for alleged propaganda against the state. Tan was tried alongside Nguyen Van Hai (Dieu Cay) and Phan Thanh Hai. Before the trial, Tan’s mother, Dang Thi Kim Lieng, died after setting herself on fire in protest of Tan’s detention. 

Tan had recently been adopted under the Committee to Protect Journalists’s Press Uncuffed campaign and also as part of the U.S. State Department’s #Freethe20 campaign to raise awareness and call for the release of 20 imprisoned female activists worldwide.
The 88 Project wishes Tan the best and will continue to work for the release of imprisoned activists in Vietnam. Thank you for your support.