Responding to the news that activist Nguyen Trung Truc has been sentenced to 12 years in prison after being found guilty of “carrying out activities to overthrow the people’s administration” by a court in Dong Hoi City, Minar Pimple, Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Global Operations said:
“Yet again, a Vietnamese court has decided to punish peaceful activism by meting out a hefty prison sentence.
“All Nguyen Trung Truc is guilty of is speaking out for human rights and advocating for democracy in Viet Nam. He has been deliberately targeted simply because he has expressed views and taken up causes that the country’s authorities disapprove of.
“Nguyen Trung Truc must be immediately and unconditionally released and Vietnam’s government must stop dealing with dissent by throwing its critics in jail.”
Nguyen Trung Truc, 44, is a member of Brotherhood of Democracy, a non-registered organisation that aims to promote human rights and advocates for democracy in Viet Nam.
Brotherhood of Democracy has been one of the main targets of the Vietnamese government’s crackdown on dissent, with 40 of its members arrested in 2017. In 2016, Nguyen Trung Truc was abducted, along with seven others and beaten by plainclothes security agents.
On 4 August 2017 he was arrested and charged with “carrying out activities to overthrow the people’s administration” under Article 79 of the country’s 1999 Penal Code. Amnesty International also has concerns about whether Nguyen Trung Truc received a fair trial. He was held incommunicado for almost a year following his arrest and only granted access to a lawyer little more than a month before his trial began.