Target: Truong Tan Sang, President of Vietnam
Goal: Release three activists imprisoned under trumped-up charges
Three Vietnamese activists are facing a possibility of seven years in prison after arbitrary traffic obstruction charges were laid against them. On their way to visit a former political prisoner, the three activists along with 18 others were stopped in traffic by police before being assaulted by a group of unidentified plainclothes thugs as the police watched. They were all arrested, but only three were charged with politically-motivated charges of “causing public disorder” by “creating a serious obstruction to traffic.”
One of the imprisoned is a human rights activist known for her peaceful protests in support of political prisoners in China. She has been arrested, charged, and imprisoned for two years because of this, and upon her release, returned to activism to call attention to the horrific prison conditions she faced. She and her family have faced harassment, intimidation, and surveillance for almost a decade at the hands of police and authorities. Another has spent his life campaigning for freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, and has been persecuted by the government for following an independent sect of Buddhism rather than the state-sanctioned one.
The three activists await their trial in prison, and could face seven years if convicted. During their detention, they were initially denied access to lawyers until complaints were filed by family members. The same family members faced harassment and intimidation by police at rallies in support of the prisoners.
It is an affront to human rights to imprison activists for no reason other than defending basic rights. As a party to the UN Human Rights Council, Vietnam has a duty to uphold a standard of rights for their citizens. Sign the petition below to demand that the charges against the three activists are dropped, and that they are immediately released from prison.
Dear President Truong Tan Sang,
Trumped-up traffic violation charges have been laid against three Vietnamese human rights activists. They and a group of other activists were stopped in traffic by police while on their way to visit a former political prisoner. Police stood by while a group of unidentified thugs beat and harassed them. While all of the activists were arrested, only three of the most prominent have been charged with causing public disorder.
If convicted, the three activists could face seven years in prison for something as little as fighting for basic human rights. As a member of the UN Human Rights Council, Vietnam should be making a better effort to improve rights for their own citizens, and should start by dropping charges against the three activists and releasing them from prison.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: pululante via Flickr Creative Commons