Vietnam Jailed Activists Minutes After Talking About Human Rigths To US

The motorcyclists ride past the Communist propaganda slogan in Hanoi on January 16. (AFP)

A prominent writer who has published widely on human rights and alleged police brutality, was arrested secretly in Saigon, the representatives of the international human rights groups said on Wednesday.

Vietnamese Communist regime has arrested a prominent blogger and dissident for so-called anti-state activities hours after it held annual talks on human rights with the United States.

Ms Pham Doan Trang, a writer who has published widely on human rights and alleged police brutality, was arrested in Ho Chi Minh City, according to Human Rights Watch, charged with “making, storing, disseminating or products that aim to oppose" the socialist state.

Despite sweeping economic reform, Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party tolerates little criticism and has stepped up its crackdown on activists ahead of a key party congress in January next year. Trang’s arrest just before midnight on Tuesday came hours after an annual U.S.-Vietnam human rights dialogue concluded.

Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party has stepped up its crackdown on activists

The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi could not provide immediate comment on her detention. The arrest was not reported by the Vietnam’s regime propaganda.

Ms Trang was in 2014 among several activists apprehended by the authorities on their way to a meeting with former U.S. President Barack Obama during his landmark visit to Vietnam.

HRW and Amnesty International condemned Tuesday’s arrest and demanded her immediate release.

Pham Dan Trang faces an imminent risk of torture and other-ill treatment at the hands of the Vietnamese authorities. She must be immediately and unconditionally released, said Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Campaigns, Ming Yu Hah, in a statement.

The arrest of Pham Doan Trang is reprehensible. She is a leading figure in the struggle for human rights in Viet Nam. She has inspired countless young activists to speak up for a more just, inclusive, and free Vietnam, stated Mr Hah.

A source with direct knowledge said Ms Trang had been anticipating issues with the authorities just days before she was detained. Ms Trang had also shared a letter titled “just in case I am imprisoned” dated May 2019, that outlined democratic goals she strived to achieve. She also asked that she be allowed to have her guitar in jail.

I had a long chat with her on Sunday and she seemed very nervous,” the source, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the case, told a journalist.

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