HRW calls for independent investigation into abuse of Vietnamese dissidents

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Human Rights Watch (HRW) calls on Vietnamese authorities to investigate allegations of beating and chaining prisoner of conscience Trinh Ba Tu.

HRW issued a press release on Thursday calling on authorities to launch an investigation into the alleged actions of prison guards at No. 6 Prison, Thanh Chuong Municipality, Nghe An Province.

The statement from the New York-based human rights organization was released two days after Tu’s father, Trinh Ba Khiem, said his son had been punished for filing a complaint against the prison.

“There must be an urgent, transparent and impartial investigation into Trinh Ba Tu’s serious allegations that prison guards handcuffed and beat him,” said Phil Robertson, deputy director of HRW’s Asia division.

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“That kind of treatment is outrageous and unacceptable, and the perpetrators should be held accountable for the abuse of prisoners.”

Robertson said dissidents imprisoned in Vietnam are regularly harassed and treated inhumanely. He said he saw little chance of Vietnamese authorities investigating these allegations.

“Foreign diplomats and UN officials should request the Vietnamese authorities to visit Trinh Ba Tu and conduct interviews with him to get to the bottom of this matter,” HRW said in its statement.

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Tu’s sister-in-law, Do Thi Thu, sent a petition to the President of Vietnam, the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Minister of Public Security, the Supreme People’s Newspaper and the Volkskrant of Nghe An Province.

She asked them to explain to Tu’s family why her brother-in-law was beaten, tortured and handcuffed.

“When I heard that Tu had been beaten and on a hunger strike, my family was very concerned about him,” said Thu, who is married to another prisoner of conscience, Trinh Ba Phuong.

“My family does not know why he was beaten and handcuffed. My family doesn’t know if he’s still being beaten or on a hunger strike.”

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This is the second time that Tu has been beaten in prison by the Vietnamese police. When he was arrested in mid-June 2020, his assault by the police in Hoa Binh province caused kidney damage.

According to former prisoner of conscience Nguyen Van Hai (aka blogger Dieu Cay), who spent years incarcerated in many prisons, Prison No. 6 is Vietnam’s most draconian.

In early August, citizen journalist Do Cong Duong died while serving an eight-year prison sentence, despite being healthy when he was arrested.

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