Vietnam: prominent environmental WHRD sentenced (Update)Event
- Viet Nam
- Initial Date
- Jun 17, 2022
- Event Description
The Observatory has been informed about the conviction, sentencing, and ongoing arbitrary detention of Nguy Thi Khanh, a prominent environmental activist, winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2018 and a symbol of the campaign against Vietnam’s reliance on coal power.
On June 17, 2022, Nguy Thi Khanh was sentenced to two years of imprisonment for tax evasion under the Article 200 of Vietnam’s 2015 Criminal Code, after being prosecuted and convicted for failing to pay a 10% tax on her Goldman Prize money, which is equivalent to an amount of VND 456 million (around 18,252 Euros).
Ms. Khanh was arrested on January 11, 2022 and detained for investigation at the Police Detention Centre No. 1 in Hanoi, where she remained detained pending trial. The acts of harassment against her began after she had repeatedly raised concerns on Vietnam’s heavy reliance on coal. In October 2021, Nguy Thi Khanh along with several NGOs alerted Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on the necessity to revise Vietnam’s Draft National Power Development Plan for the 2021-2030 period. In October 2019, she had joined 12 Vietnamese NGOs, including Oxfam - Vietnam, in signing the “Hanoi Statement” (Tuyến bố Hà nội), which called on the government to stop funding coal-fired power stations and to conduct a democratic consultation with the Vietnamese people.
At the time of publication of this urgent appeal, Nguy Thi Khanh remains in the Police Detention Center No 1.
Ms. Khanh is the fourth and most prominent environmental activist denouncing Vietnam’s continued heavy reliance on coal-fired power to be arrested this year on charges of tax evasion. On January 24, 2022, Dang Dinh Bach, director of the Law and Policy of Sustainability Development Research Center, was sentenced to five years in prison. On January 11, 2022, Mai Phan Loi, founder and leader of the Center for Media in Educating Community (MEC) and Bach Hùng Duong former director of the MEC were sentenced to our years and two years and six months respectively.
The three environmental rights defenders were accused of corporate tax evasion, although non-profit organizations are exempt from corporate tax in Vietnam. Tax laws regarding NGOs receiving funds from international donors are particularly vague and restrictive. The organisations of the three defenders, along with the VCHR, believed that their arrests were prompted by their work to promote civil society engagement in monitoring the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) which came into force in 2021.
The Observatory expresses its deepest concern about the Vietnamese authorities’ use of legal harassment, especially the use of tax-related charges against environmental activists, as a strategy to criminlise them.
The Observatory strongly condemns the judicial harassment and arbitrary detention of Nguy Thi Khanh, Dang Dinh Bach, Bach Hung Duong, and Mai Phan Loi, as it seems to be only aimed at punishing them for their legitimate environmental and human rights activities.
The Observatory urges the Vietnamese authorities to put an end to all acts of harassment against the above-mentioned human rights defenders and immediately and unconditionally release them.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- Judicial Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Right to liberty and security
- Environmental rights defender
- NGO staff
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 17 June 2022, Nguy Thi Khanh prominent environmental WHRD held since February, was sentenced to 2-year jail on alleged tax evasion charges, similarly to other jailed EHRDs by a court in Hanoi, Viet Nam.
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