PEN INTERNATIONAL, 8 March 2016 – PEN International condemns the ongoing harassment faced by blogger Tran Minh Nhat and his family ever since his release in August 2015. Initially arrested in August 2011, Tran was sentenced to four years in prison and three years in probationary detention for “carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration” under Article 79 of the Criminal Code in connection with his writings for a website linked to the Catholic Church. He was released on 28 August 2015 upon completion of his prison sentence. Since then, Tran and his family have faced frequent and varying acts of harassment and intimidation at the hands of the authorities in Lam Ha district, Lam Dong Province and other unidentified assailants. PEN International calls on the Vietnamese authorities to end the harassment of Tran Minh Nhat and his family and to ensure their safety. PEN also calls on the authorities to carry out a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into the acts of harassment reported by Tran Minh Nhat, and to bring the perpetrators to justice. Read More
Now that Cu Huy Ha Vu had ended his hunger strike on June 21, another political prisoner, young Catholic activist Tran Minh Nhat (photo), began fasting on that same day to protest the maltreatment and harsh conditions in Nghe An’s prison.
Tran Minh Nhat, born 1988, student at the University of Foreign Languages before his arrest, is one of the 14 young Catholic activists who were tried and convicted in January 2013 under article 79 of the Vietnamese Criminal Code for “activities aiming to overthrow the people’s government.” He had participated in anti-China protests, anti-bauxite mining petitions, and volunteered for An Phong radio – a media outlet of the Redemptorist Church of Vietnam. Nhat was sentenced to 4 years of imprisonment and 3 years of probation. he appeal sentence on May 23, 2013, removed the probation sentence.
According to his family, Nhat goes on a hunger strike to protest against the unfair treatment and the harsh conditions in prison. Prison guards have not allowed him to received lawful textbooks, medicines his family had wanted to send him. The living conditions in Nghi Kim prison in Nghe An has also been miserable: poor diet, shortage of electricity and water. The severe summer weather of Nghe An, a central region city, only exacerbates the situation.
Nhat had asked his family to send him vitamin C, but prison guards refused to let him receive supplies from the family.
Tran Minh Nhat plans to fast until the end of the month, demanding the the Board of Nghi Kim prison to improve jail conditions and ensure the minimum standards required by the law.
Source: BBC Vietnamese June 24, 2013