In 2011, the Vietnamese government led a massive crackdown against Vietnamese youth activists. According to Amnesty International, after 15 months of pre-trial detention, 14 youth activists were tried and accused by the state for being connected with or participating in Viet Tan, a group that is internationally recognized as peacefully campaigning for democracy in Vietnam, but seen as “reactionary” or “terrorist” to the Vietnamese government. At the end of a two-day show trial in January 2013, all of the individuals were charged under clause 1 of article 79 of Vietnam’s Penal Code:
“Article 79.- Carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration
Those who carry out activities, establish or join organizations with intent to overthrow the people’s administration shall be subject to the following penalties:
- Organizers, instigators and active participants or those who cause serious consequences shall be sentenced to between twelve and twenty years of imprisonment, life imprisonment or capital punishment”
Below are profiles for each of the three activists who were detained and sentenced in 2013.
Đặng Xuân Diệu, 37, is an engineer, blogger, and activist. Prior to his arbitrary detainment in 2011, Diệu volunteered as a youth leader in the Catholic community and blogged for the Vietnam Redemptorist News, an independent online Catholic publication that reports on social issues in Vietnam. He would work with others in his congregation on initiatives like helping typhoon victims rebuild their life and poor students access education. Read More.
Hồ Đực Hoà, 42, is a businessman, citizen journalist and community organizer. Prior to his arbitrary detention in 2011, he had worked for a company focused on stocks called Trần Đình. Outside of work he was an active member of the Vinh Diocese Church in Vietnam and a contributor to the Vietnam Redemptorist News, an independent online Catholic publication that reports on social issues in the Vietnam. In addition, he volunteered as a youth leader focusing on mobilizing access to education for poor students and providing assistance to disabled persons. The injustices of the Vietnamese government towards its citizens motivates him to become an activist. He lives by the saying, “We have to change ourselves first, and then those closest to us in order for society to change.” Read More.
Nguyễn Đạng Minh Mẫn, 30, is beautician, photojournalist, and activist. From 2006 to 2007, she trained as a beautician, but it was in 2008 that she officially participated in activism due to the large waves of government oppression, police abuse, and land confiscation against the Vietnamese people. Read More.