To Foreign Diplomats in Vietnam

Dear Sir or Madam,

My name is Thao Thi TRINH and I write concerning my mother and two of my brothers, who are all imprisoned as prisoners of conscience: I set out the details below, with my sincere request for urgent assistance.

  1. Phuong Ba TRINH

My older brother is Phuong Ba TRINH (‘Phuong’).

He is currently imprisoned at the police temporary prison No 1 in Hanoi.

On 24 June 2020, Phuong was arrested after exercising his rights of freedom of speech as prescribed in article 25 of the Vietnamese Constitution. The charges allege he violated article 117.2 of the Vietnamese penal code, which carries a  sentence of between 10 and 20 years imprisonment.

Since his arrest on 24 June 2020, Phuong has not been permitted visits from his solicitor or from his family. Phuong was interrogated without his solicitor being present, and in exercising his legal right to remain silent as prescribed by the Vietnamese laws, would only answer questions if his solicitor were present.

After that Phuong was imprisoned in a mental hospital, which is even more tragic as his baby was born only four days before.

At no stage was our family been permitted to bring homemade food to Phuong, but instead were forced to buy food at the prison and mental hospital food stalls, at a highly inflated price.

  1. Tu Ba TRINH and Theu Thi CAN

My younger brother is Tu Ba TRINH (‘Tu’); my mother is Theu Thi CAN (‘my mother Theu’)

My younger brother Tu and my mother Theu are both imprisoned at the temporary police detention camp in Hoa Binh province.

They were sentenced to 8 years imprisonment and 3 years parole by the Vietnamese communist government, for the same reasons that Phuong was imprisoned, for exercising their rights to freedom of speech prescribed by article 25 of the Vietnamese Constitution.

Tu and my mother Theu suffer terribly because of the treatment and conditions in prison.

During the process of interrogation, police and guards used so much heavy coercion on my younger brother, Tu, that he had no other option than to go on a 20-day hunger-strike. Tu continues to receive abuse, humiliation, and insults from the prison guards.

The prison conditions for Tu and my mother Theu are inhumane. They are confined in tiny dark prison cells, with no electricity, ventilation or water, enduring daily temperatures of over 40C.

Me and my family have repeatedly asked to see the prison chiefs of the above prisons, to plead that we may visit Tu, Phuong, and my mother Theu. We asked for visitation and for humane conditions in their cells.  But all attempts to visit and to advocate for better conditions were rejected.

Before their arrest, Phuong, Tu and my mother Theu were the main sources of income for our family; now we are all suffering in many ways.

  1. Plea for your help

Me and my family now plead with the international community for assistance.

Should the international community investigate, we believe the above will be found nothing less than acts of torture by the Vietnamese communist government upon my mother and my brothers.

I urge you to speak up by asking the Vietnamese communist government to honour its commitment to the international convention against torture (signed on 7 November 2013).

Also, we would plead that the relevant international representatives visit Tu, Phuong and my mother Theu, to understand the conditions for themselves, if that is possible. We ask that the international community do everything in their power to assist the abovementioned unjust imprisonments, lack of due process, and violations of their own Vietnamese and international laws by the Vietnamese government.

As set out above the prisons are:

  1. The temporary detention camp of Hoa Binh province where my younger brother Tu Ba TRINH and my mother is Theu Thi CAN are both detained.
  2. The Police temporary prison No 1 in Hanoi where my older brother is Phuong Ba TRINH, is detained.

If you can do this, your actions and support will ensure the spotlight is on the current acts of torture by the Vietnamese government that have had terrible impacts both physical and mental upon my mother and my brothers, and other prisoners like them.

Me, my family, and our extended Vietnamese community will be extremely grateful for your time and concern in following this up for the well-being of my family members mentioned above.

Thanking you sincerely

Thao Thi TRINH

Hoa Binh

12/7/2021

Translated by the International Youth Movement For Human Rights

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