Senator Ngo deplores the arrest of prominent pro-democracy activist, Nguyen Thuy Hanh
[For immediate release] – May 21, 2021
Today, Senator Thanh Hai Ngo issued the following Statement in response to the arrest of prominent pro-democracy activist Nguyen Thuy Hanh on April 7th and the Vietnam communist regime’s continued and relentless persecution against prisoners of conscience:
Mrs. Nguyen Thuy Hanh is among the latest human rights defenders arrested under the regime’s go-to penalty for dissidents – Article 117 of Vietnam’s Criminal Code, the allegation of “conducting anti-state propaganda”. A group of about 30 police officers (according to eye-witness accounts) were sent to her home, where she was apprehended, on April 7th.
Mrs. Hanh is a member of the Brotherhood for Democracy, a group that is highly targeted by the Communist regime – with many of its members arrested and imprisoned for subversion and other related charges. Some of Mrs. Hanh’s activism has been instrumental in assisting prisoners of conscience in Vietnam. Among her most notable contributions, was establishing a 50K Fund to provide prisoners of conscience and their families with much-needed financial assistance. Through her fundraising efforts, it is estimated that she was able to collect VND 523 million ($22,700) to help the family of Dong Tam commune leader, Le Dinh Kinh (slain by police forces during the raid of the village on January 9, 2020) and other land petitioners taken into custody. Unfortunately, because of the pressure from the Communist authorities, Mrs. Hanh was forced to close the 50K Fund. Furthermore, at their request, Vietcombank froze her account, for reasons that the funds were being channeled to terrorist groups.
It is likely Mrs. Hanh will be held incommunicado for at least four months. She faces a prison sentence from between seven to twelve years, if convicted.
The government of Canada, our democratic allies and the United Nations have a duty to safeguard and uphold the international rules-based order and urge the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to ensure that its actions are consistent with its international human rights obligations and commitments. We must join together in calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Nguyen Thuy Hanh and all prisoners of conscience.
For more information, please contact:
Office of the Honourable Thanh Hai Ngo