List of HRDs’ Cases
India: Journalist arrested on anti-State charges
October 11, 2011, 5:43 pm, Arbitrary arrest and detention, Corruption, Freedom of expression, Police, Right to self-determination
An Indian journalist who covered police violence in the state of Chhattisgarh was recently arrested on antistate charges that human rights groups say are retaliatory, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Police said they arrested Lingaram Kodopi on September 10 in a public market in Dantewada district on charges of accepting a bribe from a representative of a steel company wanting to operate in a Maoist insurgent-controlled area, news reports said. One of Kodopi’s relatives, who was also accused of accepting bribes, told The Times of India that Kodopi was detained in his home, not at the market, and that the police were trying to falsely implicate them. Both she and the journalist deny the charges against them, news reports said. more…
India: Anti-corruption activist jailed for 7 days
October 11, 2011, 4:57 pm
On 16 August 2011, Mr. Anna Hazare, a veteran anti-corruption activist has been freed, hours after he and seven supporters were sent to jail for seven days by a court in New Delhi
The court had sent 72-year-old Anna Hazare and his supporters to jail because they would not sign bail bonds, said Rajan Bhagat, a police spokesman in New Delhi.
Hazare had been detained in advance of a hunger strike, for which investigators said he lacked the official permission. They also briefly detained 1,300 supporters who planned to join him at a protest site where he was to have begun his demonstration, Bhagat said.
But jail spokesman Sunil Gupta told CNN Hazare and the other seven activists had been shifted to the prison headquarters within hours of being sent to jail.
The campaigners, however, have refused to leave the prison office until their request to be allowed to hold their hunger strike without conditions unacceptable to them is met, Gupta said.
“We are conveying their demands to authorities,” he said.
The release orders were issued by the same magistrate who remanded the eight activists into jail earlier in the day, Bhagat said.
Hazare’s arrest triggered street demonstrations, television footage showed. Protesters waving Indian flags were seen raising pro-Hazare slogans.
Hazare conducted a five-day hunger strike in April at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar landmark, ending it only after India’s prime minister agreed to introduce long-pending legislation meant to crack down on graft.
Anti-corruption campaigners have rejected legislation prepared by the federal government to create a citizen ombudsman, saying the bill, now in Parliament, was too weak to tackle endemic graft in the system.
Led by Hazare, they have been demanding a stronger institution that they say should be capable of tackling corruption Indians encounter in their daily lives.
Critics, on their part, have accused the campaigners of challenging the authority of elected legislature that has to debate and decide the proposed law.
In his remarks Monday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh disapproved of hunger strikes as a means to push demands.
Singh, whose government is roiled in massive corruption scandals, acknowledged in his national address to mark India’s Independence Day that no single measure could handle chronic corruption.
“I believe that there is no single big step which we can take to eradicate corruption. In fact, we will have to act simultaneously on many fronts,” Singh said.
Meanwhile, Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram told reporters that campaigners’ insistence on not accepting legislation other than their own version of the anti-corruption bill was “beyond comprehension.”
“How can you indirectly endorse such an argument that it his, his bill and no other bill (which is acceptable)?” Chidambaram asked.
The home minister insisted police took Hazare into custody after the veteran activist told officers that he would “defy” orders not to hold a demonstration until he agreed to laid-out conditions.
He said Hazare and his supporters were welcome to raise their concerns with a parliamentary committee that will scrutinize the citizen ombudsman legislation before it is presented to lawmakers for a vote.
As a mark of protest, activists called upon government employees to take a day’s leave in a show of solidarity with Hazare, a call the federal administration was quick to term “wrong.”
“I sincerely hope that the government servants don’t respond to such wrong calls,” Chidambaram said. more…
Cambodia: Boeung Kak Lake activist savagely beaten by mob of police officers during forced eviction
October 10, 2011, 8:48 pm
Yesterday witnessed the most violent forced eviction of Boeung Kak lake residents to date. Early in the afternoon, a hundred “anti-riot” intervention police officers and Daun Penh district security guards positioned themselves nearby homes of lake residents. Two excavators, protected by the armed group, proceeded in destroying homes of families arbitrarily disqualified from the 12.44 hectares of land given to the remaining lake families. more…
Cambodia: Monk intimidated to retract permission for legal eductation NGO-workshop
October 10, 2011, 8:40 pm
A chief monk who granted permission for two NGOs to hold a legal education workshop at the Kiribotaram pagoda, in Dang Kambit commune, Kampong Thom province, has retracted his invitation after warnings from the commune chief. more…
Cambodia: Training session by environmental NGO stopped by police
October 10, 2011, 8:24 pm
In the morning of 10 August 2011, Mr. Chut Wutty, the Director of Natural Resource Protection Group, and communities from three provinces were surrounded by a number of police officers (over 10) armed with AK 47 trying to stop a training session. An intense argument broke out between Mr. Chut Vutty and the police officers, with the police using disrespectful and dirty words and unacceptable behaviors. more…
Cambodia: Community activist’s house shot
October 10, 2011, 7:58 pm
In the early hours of the morning of 26 July 2011 a shot was fired into the home of community activist Kun Eng in Banteay Srey district, Siem Reap province, by an unidentified gunman. The bullet missed Kun Eng, his wife and his eight-month-old daughter who were in the house at the time, and lodged into a wooden post inside their home. Mr. Eng and his family have since fled their home fearing for their safety. more…
Vietnam: Blogger sentenced to four years in prison
October 10, 2011, 7:33 pm
The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International protests the four-year sentence handed down to activist and writer Lu Van Bay on 22 August 2011 for his critical online writings. PEN International calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Lu Van Bay and all those currently detained in Vietnam in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Vietnam is a signatory. According to PEN’s information, Lu Van Bay was arrested at his home by police on 26 March 2011, who also seized his computer and several of his articles. Six months later, he was sentenced to four years in prison and three years’ of house arrest following a half-day trial under Article 88 of the Vietnamese Criminal Code for “conducting propaganda against the regime”. more…
Vietnam: Eight Vietnamese activists ’held for subversion’
October 10, 2011, 7:27 pm
At least eight political activists have been arrested on subversion charges in Vietnam in a crackdown which began after the prime minister was re-appointed, their legal adviser said on Tuesday. The suspects, who have been involved in recent anti-China protests and other activities, were rounded up in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and the north-central province of Nghe An, Le Quoc Quan told AFP. The eight, all of them belonging to the minority Catholic faith, have been formally arrested for “activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration”, he said. They include Paulus Le Van Son, a blogger. more…
Vietnam: Human rights lawyer barred from practicing law for three years
October 10, 2011, 7:21 pm
On 12 August 2011, the Daklak Bar Association disbarred human rights defender and lawyer Mr Huynh Van Dong from practicing law for three years. Huynh Van Dong is a prominent human rights lawyer who has been a practicing lawyer since 2003 and works on cases concerning the protection of land rights and the right to freedom of expression. more…
Vietnam: Bloggers Dieu Cay, Ta Phong Tan and Phan Thanh Hai sentenced for conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam
October 10, 2011, 7:07 pm
In April 2008, Mr. Dieu Cay, lawyer and blogger, was arrested and sentenced to two and a half years in prison at an unfair trial on trumped-up charges of “tax evasion” in September 2008. He had written articles calling for human rights and democratic reforms posted on the Internet, and staged demonstrations during the Beijing Olympic Games. Mr. Dieu Cay was due for release on 19 October 2010 after having completed his prison term. However, his family was then informed that he would remain in detention under the new charge of “propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam” (Article 88 of the Vietnamese Criminal Code). This Article provides sentences from 10 to 20 years imprisonment.
Since this second charge was pronounced, Mrs. Duong Thi Tan, his wife, and her family have been denied all contacts with him, and both the police and judiciary systematically refuse to give any information on his case and whereabouts. In 2011, his wife travelled thirteen times to Ho Chi Minh City Security Police Investigations Department where he was previously detained, but was turned back by the police each time.
On 5 July 2011, Mrs. Duong Thi Tan was told by Lt.-Colonel Dang Hong Diep of the Ho Chi Minh City Security Police Investigations Department that Mr. Dieu Cay had “lost his hand or arm” whilst in detention (the Vietnamese expression is “m?t tay”, which could mean losing either a hand or an arm).
On 17 and 20 January 2012, Mrs. Duong Thi Tan, was authorised to send food parcels through the police to her husband for the Lunar New Year. On 1 February 2012, she went to the Ho Chi Minh City Security Police Investigations Department to ask for a receipt signed by her husband, which is routine practice for all prisoners’ families. Lieutenant-colonel Pham Van Tan, the officer in charge, would not receive her, and delegated a young police officer to take her complaint. When she explained the situation, he went inside the office and returned with a receipt. The signature was a mere scribble. It was definitely not Mr. Dieu Cay’s signature, she said. On 6 February 2012, she then went to the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Office of Supervision and Control (the People’s Procuracy or Vien Kiem sat), to ask for news of her husband. She had written to the Office seven times before finally obtaining an appointment. However, when she arrived, they refused to receive her, and told her not to bother coming again.
On 18 October 2010, Mr. Phan Thanh Hai was arrested. On 5 September 2011, Ms. Ta Phong Tan was arrested. They are reportedly held in detention at the siege of the Ho Chi Minh City Security Police Investigations Department (Phan Dang Luu Street), along with Mr. Dieu Cay. They are also prosecuted under Article 88 of the Criminal Code because of their defence of freedom of expression through their blogs. Before his arrest, Mr. Phan Thanh Hai published in particular an analysis outlining that Article 88 of the Criminal Code violates the right to freedom of expression enshrined in the Constitution, and that it shall be abrogated. Ms. Ta Phong Tan posted articles on police abuse and violations of human rights by the State.
On 17 April 2012, the trial of Mr. Dieu Cay, Mr. Phan Thanh Hai and Ms. Ta Phong Tan was supposed to be held before the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court, but was postponed due to a dissension between the Public Security Bureau (PSB) on the one hand, and the People’s Prosecutor’s Office and the Court on the other.
According to a declaration made by a Judge of Ho Chi Minh City who wants to remain anonymous, the PSB is requesting harsh sentences to be pronounced against them, while the People’s Prosecutor’s Office and the Court would prefer lighter sentences. According to the information received, the PSB would be requesting the court to sentence Mr. Dieu Cay, Mr. Hai and Ms. Tan, to, respectively, 14 to 16 years’ imprisonment, 12 to 14 years’ imprisonment and 7 to 9 years’ imprisonment. The trial should be scheduled after the anniversary of Vietnamese Communist Party’s victory on 30 April 2012. The Judge of Ho Chi Minh City reportedly advised the accused to plead guilty in order to avoid harsh prison sentences
On 28 December 2012, an appeals court upheld the 12-year prison sentence for Nguyen Van Hai (“Dieu Cay”) and 10-year prison sentence for Ta Phong Tan, after both bloggers were indicted in September 2012 for “producing propaganda against the state” and “writing and disseminating information online” about human rights and corruption. A third blogger, Phan Thanh Hai, who pled guilty at the September 2012 trial, had his sentence reduced from four to three years following the appeal.