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Translating Freedoms

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POC Nguyễn Đặng Minh Mẫn. Source: IJAVN

The 88 Project, March 13, 2017: “My daughter Minh Mẫn was beaten and wounded in prison, and she was held in solitary confinement in a stinky cell for 10 days.” Mrs. Đặng Ngọc Minh, mother of Minh Mẫn, shared in an interview with SBTN.

On March 12, 2017, on her Facebook, Mrs. Đặng Ngọc Minh wrote that Ms. Nguyễn Đặng Minh Mẫn was assaulted by another prisoner named Lan inside the prison; then the prison ward ordered Minh Mẫn to be sent to solitary confinement for 10 days.

Mrs. Đặng Ngọc Minh said: “In the visit on March 12, 2017, my husband called from Prison No. 5, Thanh Hóa province, to let me know that my daughter had been beaten, and she just got out from the disciplinary cell and looked thin and weak because of the harsh treatment she had received.”

Mr. Nguyễn Văn Lợi, father of Minh Mẫn, related: “When I saw Mẫn, Mẫn started telling me about the assault, then the officer interrupted and threatened to end our visit. She had been held in a dirty cell with a poor nutrition regime.” Read More

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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

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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

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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

Anh Ba Sam at Trial

Bloggers Nguyen Huu Vinh (Anh Ba Sam) and Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy at trial. Source: VietnamNet

On March 22, less than 24 hours before the trial of prominent bloggers Nguyen Huu Vinh (aka Anh Ba Sam) and Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy, families and friends of the two bloggers officially launched the book “Anh Ba Sam” in Ha Noi with foreign diplomats from Western embassies in attendance. “Anh Ba Sam” is the first bilingual Vietnamese-English book about a prisoner of conscience in Vietnam. It was released on Amazon on March 15, 2016.

At the meeting, Ms. Le Thi Minh Ha, the wife of blogger Anh Ba Sam, and Ms. Nguyen Thi Thuyen, mother of blogger Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy, expressed their gratitude to Vietnamese people everywhere who have raised their voices against the violation of human rights of the bloggers and the violation of criminal procedural rules in their case.

Each guest who attended the book launch and meeting with the families received a copy of the book and a T-shirt with blogger Ba Sam’s portrait printed. A copy of the book had previously been sent to the office of the Prime Minister of Vietnam in Ha Noi. Read More

The 4th day of the hunger strike. Source: Tran Huynh Duy Thuc's Facebook page

The 4th day of the hunger strike. Source: Tran Huynh Duy Thuc’s Facebook page

Trần Huỳnh Duy Thức’s family, on the Facebook page dedicated to their family member, political prisoner Trần Huỳnh Duy Thức, reported that Thức and four other political prisoners – Nguyễn Hoàng Quốc Hùng, Trần Vũ Anh Bình, Đinh Nguyên Kha, and Liêu Ly have been on a hunger strike since March 11, 2016. According to the Thức father, Mr. Trần Văn Huỳnh, the prisoners’ act aims to protest the prison’s administration for the latter’s disregard of the law and arbitrary treatment of prisoners in violation of the Constitution and the law. Specifically, they protest against two prison cadres:

  1. Colonel Lê Văn Tuất, assistant superintendent of the prison
  2. Cadre Nguyễn Văn Bộ, cadre I.D. 082686

These cadres have arbitrarily prohibited the political prisoners from taking simple and human actions, without providing any legal basis or rationale for such prohibition. For example: Read More

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Dr. Nguyen Quang A (Source: Internet)

Dr. Nguyen Quang A, a renowned Vietnamese businessman, scholar, and dissident, has launched an appeal to Vietnamese citizens to exercise their right to stand for election in the upcoming National Assembly’s elections of May 2016. He himself just kicked off a campaign to gauge the public support for his own nomination by asking people to sign a public petition to show their support.

Elections in one-party Vietnam are controlled by the Communist Party of Vietnam. All candidates must be members of the Communist Party of Vietnam or endorsed by the Fatherland Front – a branch of the the Communist Party. Article 27 of the current Constitution provides for the citizens’ “right to stand for election to the National Assembly,” but this is not the legal and political reality of Vietnam. The 88 Project presents here the excerpt of Dr. Nguyen Quang A’s appeal in which he clarifies the motivation to exercise the right to stand for election within a one-party regime.

LET’S STAND FOR ELECTION TO GRADUALLY TURN RIGHTS ON PAPER INTO ACTUAL RIGHTS AND HELP MR. TRONG PROVE THAT “[VIETNAM] IS DEMOCRATIC AT THE MOST.”*

[*Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong – referred in this article as Mr. Trong, was reelected as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam in January 2016. Commenting on the Politburo’s election results, he said “it was democratic at the most, it couldn’t be more democratic.”] 

Nguyen Quang A – The elections of the 14th Legislature of the National Assembly will take place on May 22, 2016. Apparently, the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) is preparing to nominate 896 candidates (which include 80 members of the Central Committee of the CPV). It is normal for a political party to prepare the nomination of its candidates to compete in the legislative elections. However, in our “democratic at the most” society, this is not quite normal.

Since there are no other political parties to compete agains the CPV, the nomination of candidates is a monopoly power of the CPV and its affiliated organizations. Until now, very few people self-nominate. Besides a handful of people who got implicit approval from the CPV to run for elections, almost all self-nominating candidates got ruthlessly eliminated by the “democratic to the most” procedural rules, despite the solemn guarantee by Article 27 of the Constitution of the right of every citizen who reaches the age of twenty-one to stand for election to the National Assembly.

1. LET’S GRADUALLY TURN THE RIGHTS ON PAPER INTO ACTUAL ONES

The right to self-nominate for election has still been a supposed right. The law on elections should be revised to ensure nobody can take away the right of citizens to stand for election. However, from now until March 13, 2016 (the deadline to submit self-nomination application – 70 days before the election day), there are many things citizens can do to help turning the supposed right into an actual one.   Read More