On September 21, 2012, Ho Chi Minh City Court convicted three members of the Free Journalists Club, Nguyen Van Hai (blogger Dieu Cay), Phan Thanh Hai (blogger Anhbasaigon), Ta Phong Tan (blogger Justice and Truth) and sentenced up to 26 years’ imprisonment and 11 years’ administrative probation due to implementing their own human rights.
Also on September 26, 2012, Supreme Court has hold the sentence to four young Catholic in Vinh City, Nghe An Province with Dau Van Duong 42 months’ imprisonment, Tran Huu Duc 39 months, Chu Manh Son reducing from 36 months to 30 months.Remarks and comments of the two trials above:At the Court:
The trial was not followed the due process in the code of Criminal Procedures: the lawyers have rejected the allegations of the procuracy but the prosecutors have denied arguing with lawyers under laws. The lawyers requested to confront the accused with the witnesses, but the court did not allow. The code of Criminal Procedures allows defendants to present all the problems related to their prosecution to defend themselves without time limitation. However, the court did not comply with the laws, and did not give them enough time to present any problems and defend themselves. There were three lawyers in the court of Nghe An Province, but one lawyer was not able to advocate for his client. The court notified time was over while trial time is unlimited under the Criminal Procedures.
Obviously opening of the trial court is not for judging but it is to read a pre-decided verdict. The judiciary has no respect for the laws and the Rights of the defendants as well as the Lawyers.
Outside the Court:
The police, security policemen, self-protected civilians detained and beat those who attempted to attend the Court. The son of blogger Dieu Cay was stripped off his shirt at the police station, and the mother of blogger Tran Huu Duc was beaten and got wounded on her forehead.
The members of the Free Journalists Club and the Catholic youths just exercise their own rights on freedom of expression and freedom of press, which have been stipulated by the Constitution of Vietnam as well as in International Convention on the Rights of Civilian and Politics for that Vietnam is a state party.
The Governments of countries as USA, EU, etc. and the international human rights organizations raised concern and called for Vietnam Government to release them. Vietnamese people at home and abroad wholeheartedly supported them.
Despite these efforts and expectations from the International Community and Vietnamese people, Vietnam government has decided to give them heavy sentences.
Firstly, after Vietnam joined the WTO in 2006, Vietnam Government has repeatedly arrested and imprisoned democracy activists and human rights defenders. Currently, the government still jails more than 200 political and religious prisoners. The International Community has repeatedly requested Vietnam Government to respect for the fundamental rights of Vietnamese citizens, which cannot be deprived of. While the International Community still supports Vietnam Government in the political, economic, diplomatic, military, and aid, Vietnam Government has not been punished by the International Community because of human rights violations. This has made Vietnamese Government disregard the requests of the International Community.
Secondly, the organizations and individuals who are working for democracy and human rights protection in the country do not have sufficiently support and assistance from the international community. Thus democracy and human rights movement in the country could not develop and be strong enough to counterbalance the government.
Thirdly, Communist Party of Vietnam is facing many difficulties in economic development, corruption, internal political disputes, and protection of territorial sovereignty. Therefore, they are afraid of the growing democracy and human rights movement which will lead to a political change. To protect the absolute power of Communist Party, the government has handed down the heavy sentences for democracy activists and human rights defenders aimed at threatening other people.
What do the International Community and Vietnamese overseas community can do to support democratic movements in the country?
– International Community should consider aids, reinforcing the politic, diplomacy, and defense relationships in connection with improving the current human rights situation in Vietnam.
– International Community through its domestic NGOs can support and assist to organizations and individuals working for democracy and protection of human rights in Vietnam.
– Vietnamese overseas community campaigns their government to carry out two goals above. In addition, they can contribute finance to support for democracy activists and human rights defenders in the country.
If Vietnamese people in the country can be assisted and supported by the International Community and Vietnamese overseas community with three goals above, Vietnamese people will be soon entitled the fundamental rights and cannot be deprived of. This will establish a solid foundation to build a Vietnam with equality, democracy and civilization; bringing benefit for all Vietnamese people today and tomorrow and contributing to the Peace and Prosperity of South East Asia, Asia and the World.