Vietnam: prominent WHRD formally charged after 1-year pre-trial detention (Update)Event
- Viet Nam
- Initial Date
- Oct 18, 2021
- Event Description
On 18 October 2021, the indictment against woman human rights defender Pham Doan Trang was made public. She has been charged under Article 88 of the 1999 Penal Code for “propagandising against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam”. The indictment is dated 30 August 2021 but was only made available to the woman human rights defender and her attorneys merely two weeks before her case goes to trial on 4 November 2021.
Pham Doan Trang is a woman human rights defender, blogger and journalist. She is the founder of online law and human rights magazine Luật Khoa, and is a member of the editorial board of The Vietnamese, an independent news website which raises public awareness about human rights and political issues in Vietnam. She recently published “Politics for All”, a book promoting citizen participation, and authored a book in 2008 on the Vietnam’s LGBTIQ+ community’s demands for equal rights.
The indictment, which was made public on 18 October 2021, accuses Pham Doan Trang under Article 88 of the 1999 Penal Code for which she could face up to 12 years in prison. The indictment stated that the Investigation Unit of Hanoi City’s Police formally opened the investigation on 10 September 2020. The Department of Cyber Security and High Tech Crimes under the Ministry of Public Security and the Department of Information and Communications had petitioned the investigation department to pursue legal proceedings against Pham Doan Trang.
The ‘evidence’ against the woman human rights defender recorded in the indictment includes various reports authored by her on issues such as marine life disaster, right to freedom of religion and belief and human rights situation in Vietnam.
On 6 October 2020, at around 11.30 PM, Ho Chi Minh city police, Hanoi police and Ministry of Public Security (MPS) officials had jointly raided Pham Doan Trang’s rented apartment in Ho Chi Minh. After presenting her with an arrest warrant they brought her to an undisclosed location in Ho Chi Minh where she was not allowed contact her family or lawyers. Authorities also detained her landlord who was released later in the morning of 7 October 2020. The woman human rights defender’s arrest took place just a few hours after the 2020 US-Vietnam Annual Human Rights Dialogue.
Pham Doan Trang has come under frequent harassment, persecution, and physical assault by Vietnamese authorities in recent years. She walks with a pronounced and permanent limp caused by an injury she suffered when attacked by security forces during an environmental protest in Hanoi in April 2015. More recently, she was arrested in November 2017 after meeting the EU delegation in Hanoi and was again detained and beaten in August 2018.
Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned that Pham Doan Trang may face a heavy prison sentence for exercising her legitimate right to freedom of expression. Front Line Defenders believes that the woman human rights defender is being targeted solely for her peaceful work in defence of human rights in Vietnam.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- (Arbitrary) Arrest and Detention
- Denial Fair Trial
- Enactment of repressive legislation and policies
- Judicial Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Right to fair trial
- Right to liberty and security
- Blogger/ Social Media Activist
- Pro-democracy defender
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 18 October 2021, Pham Doan Trang, prominent pro-democracy WHRD and blogger, was informed after 1-year of pre-trial detention of the repressive charges being filed in August against her, with less than 2 weeks to prepare her defence in the upcoming hearing by a court in Hanoi, Viet Nam.