Vietnam: blogger remained in custody after supposed release date (Update)Event
- Viet Nam
- Initial Date
- Aug 12, 2023
- Event Description
Detained Vietnamese blogger and YouTuber Duong Van Thai is still in prison almost three weeks after his temporary detention was supposed to have expired, his family told Radio Free Asia.
Thai, 41, was living in Thailand when he disappeared on April 13 in what many believe was an abduction.
Vietnam has neither confirmed nor denied that he was abducted and taken back to Vietnam, but shortly after his disappearance, authorities announced that they had apprehended him for trying to sneak into the country illegally.
They did not confirm to his family that he was under arrest on official charges until July, when they sent a letter saying he was being held in a detention center in Hanoi, that he was charged with “anti-state propaganda,” and that the temporary detention would end on Aug. 12.
According to Vietnamese law, the maximum temporary detention time, which applies to extremely serious offenses, is four months. In complex cases that require more time, this period can be extended, but only if the investigating agency sends a written request to the judicial authorities.
Thai’s 70-year-old mother, Duong Thi Lu, told RFA Vietnamese that she tried to visit her son in the detention center, but she was not allowed to meet him.
“I’ve been there twice,” she said. “On my first trip, because I went there on a Saturday, they did not receive me. The next time was on a Friday. They received me at the front gate and allowed me to send in some supplies but did not let me in.”
She said that the detention center staff told her she would not be allowed to see her son until the investigation ends. She also said she intends to return next week to give him more supplies.
Lu also said that because of her advanced age, she was not capable nor alert enough to hire a defense lawyer for her son, and she plans to rely on support from her son’s friends.
RFA made repeated phone calls to the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security via the two official telephone numbers posted on its website but no one answered.
Duong Van Thai had fled to Thailand in late 2018 or early 2019, fearing political persecution for his many posts and videos that criticized the Vietnamese government and leaders of the Communist Party on Facebook and YouTube.
He had been granted refugee status by the United Nations refugee agency’s office in Bangkok. He was interviewed to resettle in a third country right before his disappearance near his rental home in central Thailand’s Pathum Thani province.
Organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, and the Committee to Protect Journalists have accused Vietnam’s security agents of kidnapping Duong Van Thai and bringing him back to Vietnam in a manner similar to how they abducted RFA-affiliated blogger Truong Duy Nhat in Bangkok in 2019 or former oil company CEO Trinh Xuan Thanh in Berlin in 2017.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- (Arbitrary) Arrest and Detention
- Denial Fair Trial
- Judicial Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Right to fair trial
- Right to liberty and security
- Blogger/ Social Media Activist
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 12 August 2023, blogger Duong Van Thai, was kept in custody by the authorities despite the end of his temporary detention period in Hanoi, Vietnam.