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.”
Treatment in Prison
Out of the 14 youth activists, Hồ Đức Hoà is one of two to receive the longest prison sentences. Like Đặng Xuân Diệu, he was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment and 5 subsequent years house arrest. He plead not guilty to all charges against him.
While in prison, many of Hoà’s basic freedoms have been violated. He has been denied a bible and banned from practicing his Catholic faith. Over the four years in prison, his family has not received any of his letters. Although his family has been able to visit him on occasion, prison guards prevent him from receiving books, newspapers, and gifts from his family. According to family members, Hoà’s spirit is strong, but his health is not well.