Vietnam: Vietnamese Activists Detained After Meeting with EU Delegation
November 17, 2017, 7:33 am

Three out of four Vietnamese activists attending a meeting with a high-ranking delegation from the EU have been detained and questioned for hours by security forces immediately after the talks.

Dr. Nguyen Quang A, Ms. Bui Thi Minh Hang, and Ms Doan Trang were taken by security forces in Hanoi at noon of November 16 after the meeting with the Political Counselors of the EU Member States at the Office of the EU Delegation to Vietnam.

Dr. A said at 11.30 AM of Thursday when he left the Lotte Building in which the headquarters of the 28-nation bloc’s diplomatic delegation is located, he was detained by four police officers and taken to a police station in Gia Lam district where he is residing.

At the police station, he was interrogated by a senior officer about the meeting with the guests from the EU. However, he refused to cooperate with them and they released him at 4.48 PM, Dr. A wrote on his Facebook account.

Meanwhile, police also detained Ms. Hang and Ms. Trang right after they left the Lotte Building. Police separated the two female activists and took them to two directions.

While Hang was taken to a police station in Thanh Cong ward not far from the EU’s headquarters, Trang was brought to the headquarters of the Investigation Agency under Hanoi Police Department on 89 Tran Hung Dao street.

Hang was also questioned but released her in evening while police kept Trang until the morning of the next day as they took her to her private residence but still keep her under house arrest.

It was reported that police had confiscated all items of Ms. Trang, including her cell phone.

Nguyen Chi Tuyen who is popular on Facebook and Tweeter under penname Chi Tuyen, was the fourth activist participating in the meeting. However, he left the Lotte Building safely after the event.

The meeting is part of preparations for an annual Human Rights Dialogue between the EU and Vietnam scheduled in early December. The activists were reportedly providing current situation in Vietnam regarding human rights abuse and the environmental disaster caused by the Taiwanese Formosa steel plant last year and the government’s suppression of these who voice their protest against the foreign company.

Two years ago, prior to the bilateral Human Rights Dialogue, Vietnam arrested prominent human rights attorney Nguyen Van Dai when he was on his way to meet with guests from the EU who came to attend the dialogue. Mr. Dai is still in detention and charged with “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 88 and later with “carrying out attempts to overthrow the government” under Article 79 of the country’s 1999’s Penal Code.

The EU is among the biggest trade partners of Vietnam. The two sides signed a Free Trade Agreement last year but the EU’s parliament has not approved the pact due to human rights abuse in the Southeast Asian nation.