A Vietnamese activist jailed in 2010 for writing online articles criticizing government policies has pledged not to go into exile abroad, saying he would rather stay in Vietnam to continue his fight for democracy and human rights, his family says.
Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, 52, was convicted on charges of plotting to overthrow the government under Article 79 of Vietnam’s penal code and is serving a 16-year term at Prison No. 6 in the Thanh Chuong district of Nghe An province.
Thuc spoke with his family by phone on June 30 following a June 25 meeting with representatives of the EU and German embassies, who visited him in prison.
Speaking on Monday with RFA’s Vietnamese Service, Thuc’s brother Tran Huynh Duy Tan said that prison authorities had allowed the delegation to meet with his brother for about an hour.
“The delegation asked him about his health, and he said that he is fine,” his brother said, adding that Thuc said that his eyesight, which was reported last year by family members to be failing, has not grown worse.
Asked about his wishes, Thuc reiterated his desire to stay in Vietnam “so that he can use his efforts to serve his country,” Thuc’s brother said.
“He wants his case to be handled properly according to the law, and said that everyone should be treated equally before the law,” he said.
“He said that someone from the Ministry of Police came to see him on May 9, and that he was treated with respect. He thinks that both sides have a better understanding of each other, and that a shift from confrontation appears to be happening now,” he said.
Moved without notice
Meanwhile, the family of another jailed activist, Hoang Duc Binh, told RFA that Binh had been transferred without notice to his relatives from his prison in Nghe An to another facility in Quang Nam province farther south.
“We went to visit him on July 2,” Binh’s brother Hoang Nguyen said.
“When we got there, they let us in as usual and wrote down our names. But when we got inside, they told us that Binh had been transferred to another prison.”
“They wouldn’t tell us when this happened, and we were never informed,” he said.
Binh, a blogger on environmental issues, was handed a 14-year prison term in February for “abusing democratic freedoms” and “obstructing officials in the performance of their duties” under Articles 257 and 258 of Vietnam’s penal code.
He was arrested on May 15, 2017, by police officers who dragged him from his car more than a year after protests over the government’s response to a waste spill the year before by a Taiwan-owned Formosa Plastics Group steel plant.
The spill killed an estimated 115 tons of fish and left fishermen jobless in four coastal provinces.