Vietnam: independent media worker has harsh sentence upheld (Update)Event
- Viet Nam
- Initial Date
- Feb 28, 2022
- Event Description
Tuan was born in Quang Nam Province and currently lives and works in Ho Chi Minh City. He graduated from the history program at the University of Da Nang, and now is also pursuing a law degree at Hanoi Law University.
Profile photo source. History of Activism
Tuan is a young professional that showed his concern for human rights in Vietnam starting at a very young age. He has participated in the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam since 2015 and joined many collective movements across the country. According to journalist Pham Doan Trang, Tuan has always dreamed of writing the first historical book on the democratization of Vietnam.
Details of Imprisonment
According to certain news sources in Vietnam, the authorities intend to combine the cases of Pham Chi Dung, Pham Chi Thanh, and Le Huu Minh Tuan into one case with Le Huu Minh Tuan acting as an accomplice. All are members of the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam.
The government has finished its investigation of Nguyen Tuong Thuy and Le Huu Minh Tuan. Thuy’s wife said their lawyer will be Nguyen Van Mieng. Some observers expected that the trial would be held soon.
Lawyers for jailed journalists Pham Chi Dung, Nguyen Tuong Thuy, and Le Huu Minh Tuan say they have finally received paperwork that allows them to start working on the cases on behalf of their clients, after the Procuracy office finished its investigation. Attorney Nguyen Van Mieng reported that since their arrests, the three men have not yet been allowed to talk to a lawyer. He also said the men were allowed to receive supplies sent by their families on November 6, but he was not able to see them due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Attorney Nguyen Van Mieng, lawyer for Pham Chi Dung, Nguyen Tuong Thuy, and Le Huu Minh Tuan, said the order for their temporary detention was signed on November 12, 2020, allowing for three months and 15 days of additional detention. It is thus expected that their first instance trials will take place toward the end of January 2021. Dung said that after reading the 12-page indictment against him, “I could not see where I broke the law.” Thuy said, “Of the 45 articles attributed to me, some weren’t even mine.” He said he’d appeal the indictment within 15 days.
Three members of the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam (IJAVN) were sentenced to a total of 37 years in prison after a trial lasting half a day. Pham Chi Dung, 55, received 15 years; Nguyen Tuong Thuy, 69, received 11 years; and Le Huu Minh Tuan, 32, received 11 years. All three were convicted of “anti-state propaganda” under Article 117 of the 2015 Criminal Code. Thuy is known to be in poor health; the long sentences could cause serious health problems. You can read our analysis of the trial here. Before his sentencing, Thuy made this statement: “All my articles are just yearnings for our people and our country. In the future, activities like mine will be considered perfectly normal.” Dung said, “A harsh sentence for independent journalists like us will show the world what ‘freedom of the press’ looks like in Vietnam. It’ll also create problems in international relations during this difficult period.”
The authorities accused the three of writing “reactionary content,” of publishing articles that “distort the truth, incite individuals to rise up and overthrow the people’s government, or even incite hatred and extremism.” However, a video of Tuan highlights the peaceful nature of his work and aspirations. He contends that he joined the IJAVN, a purely civil and professional entity, to pursue the rights enshrined in Vietnam’s Constitution. He also emphasizes, explicitly, that his objective is never to topple the current regime. Please watch and share this video of Le Huu Minh Tuan speaking in his own words.
Update, late January: Le Huu Minh Tuan has decided to appeal his prison sentence. He appears to be in good health and spirits, according to his lawyer, Dang Dinh Manh.
The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) issued an opinion on Le Huu Minh Tuan, in which they found Le Huu Minh Tuan’s detention to be arbitrary and called for his immediate release.
The WGAD also noted that this case is one of many cases brought before the Working Group in recent years concerning arbitrary detention in Viet Nam. These cases follow a familiar pattern of arrest that does not comply with international norms, which is manifested in the circumstances of the arrest, lengthy detention pending trial with no access to judicial review, denial or limiting of access to legal counsel, incommunicado detention, prosecution under vaguely worded criminal offences for the peaceful exercise of human rights, and denial of access to the outside world. This pattern indicates a systemic problem with arbitrary detention in Viet Nam which, if it continues, may amount to a serious violation of international law.
On February 28 an appeals court in Ho Chi Minh City upheld the 11-year sentence for Le Huu Minh Tuan, a member of the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam (IJAVN), on charges of “anti-state propaganda.” The open trial lasted only half a day and Tuan’s family was not allowed inside the courtroom. Tuan’s sister, Le Thi Hoai Tam, told VOA that Tuan was not allowed to see his lawyer, Dang Dinh Manh, before the trial due to “pandemic reasons.” According to his lawyer, Tuan stated in court that he only exercised his basic freedoms of expression and of the press according to Article 25 of the Constitution.
We talked to Le Thi Hoai Tam, Tuan’s sister. Like many other families of political prisoners in Vietnam, they have faced harassment from the law enforcement to visit and send Tuan necessities. Ms. Tam calls on the international community to speak out forcefully for the release of Tuan and members of the Independent Journalist Association. Watch the interview to learn more about Tuan and his personality through the eyes of his sister and the family.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- (Arbitrary) Arrest and Detention
- Judicial Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Freedom of expression
- Right to liberty and security
- Freedom of expression
- Media Worker
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 28 February 2022, Le Huu Minh Tuan, media worker and member of the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam (IJAVN), had his 11-year conviction on anti-state propaganda charges upheld by the appeal court of Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam.