Vietnamese Dissident’s Eyesight Failing in Prison, Relatives Say

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Democracy activist Tran Huynh Duy Thuc is shown during his trial in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Jan. 20, 2010.
Democracy activist Tran Huynh Duy Thuc is shown during his trial in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Jan. 20, 2010.

A Vietnamese activist jailed seven years ago for writing online articles criticizing government policies is suffering failing vision after being kept in a dark cell, family members said after visiting him in prison at the beginning of the month.

Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, 51, was convicted in 2010 on charges of plotting to overthrow the government under Article 79 of Vietnam’s penal code and is serving a 16-year prison term. He was tried along with lawyer Le Cong Dinh, engineer Nguyen Tien Trung, and businessman Le Thang Long.

Transferred in May 2016 to Prison No. 6 in north-central Vietnam’s Nghe An province, Thuc has been kept in a dark cell and denied books and other reading materials, Thuc’s brother Tran Huynh Duy Tan told RFA’s Vietnamese Service on April 7.

Tan and other family members visited Thuc at his prison on April 1, he said.

“We are worried about the lack of light in his cell,” Tan said. “His eyes have dark circles under them, and he complains of seeing flies.”

“He rarely complains about conditions in the prison, but whenever he writes to us, he always asks us to send him a flashlight.”

Power has frequently failed at the prison since August last year, Tan told RFA.

“Thuc has to live in the dark.”

“If there is sunlight outside, the cell will be a bit brighter, but it is really dark inside if the day is overcast or raining,” he said.

“Things are a bit better in the cold weather, but in the summer when it is hot, and there is no electricity, we don’t see how he can cope with it,” he said.

Thuc’s family now plans to complain directly to Vietnam’s president Tran Dai Quang about conditions at the prison where Thuc is being held, his brother said.

“We will send our petition to the prison authorities and to the president himself, demanding that they respect the rule of law, as President Tran Dai Quang said would be the case in a speech on Feb. 17.”

“He has talked a lot about respecting human rights and the rule of law for people serving sentences. But in this case, they are doing just the opposite,” he said.

Reported by Loan Ngo for RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Viet Ha. Written in English by Richard Finney.

Comments (1)

Hate Communist

from ghet bac Ho

No revolutionary/patriot has it easy. Suffrage and hardship are part of the package when one loves his/her country dearly. I hope he has better days and treatment soon.
I just hate that puked green uniform and especially the people that wear it! Isn’t that the gaudy looking junk? C’mon you goons, you aren’t in the jungle anymore, or is it old habits die hard?
My paternal grandfather was a retired high school principal. He was +70 yrs old when he attended one of these ‘re-education’ camps (Extreme gulags) after ‘75s. Needless to say, he didn’t make it. Asides from the gulag’s harsh treatments, my grandfather was a man of principles and a feisty one too. He would rather break than bow to their warped reasons. Thus, I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him. Why Ho’s Armies afraid of a +70 yrs old educator? I would bet some of these goons and even their parents were in his classes or schools. Wish I could hear grandfather stern voice denouncing them – you go grandpa! How can you win hearts and minds by the nozzle of a gun?
My maternal grandfather was a business man and also in politics (Hence, I can see why the goons don’t like him). He too was +70 yrs old when he attended these ‘re-education’ camps. The reason why the goons allowed him to go home because he has Alzheimer while incarcerated and my grandmother was paying the prison guards to keep him alive. He died shortly after they released him. My grandmother visited the camp regularly and disgusted with everything about it. The most vivid image in her mind was when my frail grandfather; in rags; has to salute one of the young, uneducated (OK, how about a 3rd grade education?), and vicious goons at the visitor gate – the contrast was unnatural! This wouldn’t never happen in a civilize settings.
So go ahead; punish our fleshes and break our bones, but you can’t ever compromise our principles. Because of these simple beliefs, it makes us stronger and better than you! Although the words of these lines are simple (Child like really!) but, it’s at the level that you goons can comprehend more easily. Here is another fact and secret: Your titles and gold don’t make you a better person! To simply put, you are still only a stupid goon with $$$!
The VNmese people will have justice.

Apr 11, 2017 03:13 PM





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