UN working group faults Vietnam for arbitrary detention of local weather activist

A U.N. working group of impartial human rights specialists has known as on Vietnam to instantly launch a detained local weather activist serving a five-year jail time period for tax evasion, saying he had been arrested arbitrarily and tried unfairly.

Lawyer and environmentalist Dang Dinh Bach, 44, who had campaigned to scale back Vietnam’s reliance on coal was arrested June 2021 after which sentenced to 5 years in jail.

Bach was director of the Legislation and Coverage of Sustainable Growth Analysis Middle, which works with communities affected by growth, poor industrial practices and environmental degradation to assist them perceive and implement their rights.

Authorities accused him of not paying taxes for sponsorships his group acquired from overseas donors. He’s one in every of 4 Vietnamese environmental activists sentenced for tax evasion—a cost that rights teams say is politically motivated. The others have been Nguy Thi Khanh, Mai Phan Loi and Bach Hung Duong.

The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention stated Bach’s trial didn’t comply with worldwide requirements of a good trial and violated many elementary rights stipulated within the Worldwide Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Common Declaration of Human Rights.

Starvation strike deliberate

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Bach’s spouse, Tran Phuong Thao, who can be a human rights activist, advised Radio Free Asia on Monday that her husband has continued his struggle for justice in jail by consuming just one meal a day since March 17.

He’ll go on a full-blown jail starvation strike as of June 24, on the second anniversary of his arrest, she stated.

Although Bach has complained about what he says is his wrongful conviction and lodged a petition with a Hanoi court docket, authorities are pressuring his household to repay 1.3 billion dong, or about US$55,300, for the tax he allegedly did not pay, Thao stated.

In addition to freezing Bach’s 4 financial institution accounts, authorities additionally threatened to grab their dwelling, she added.

The U.N. working group additionally known as on the federal government to provide Bach passable compensation and permit the group to go to Vietnam since its final go to was in 1994.

“The Working Group considers that, making an allowance for all of the circumstances of the case, the suitable treatment could be to launch Mr. Bach instantly and accord him an enforceable proper to compensation and different reparations, in accordance with worldwide regulation,” it stated in a 16-page opinion dated Might 11 and launched late final week.

On Nov. 30, 2022, the working group requested Hanoi to supply detailed details about Bach’s scenario, however the Vietnamese authorities didn’t present a response by the February 2023 deadline.

The Worldwide Coalition of Local weather Justice and Human Rights Organizations will maintain a peaceable relay starvation strike — a type of protest during which quite a lot of individuals go with out meals by turns — on Might 24–June 24 in assist of the decision to launch Bach.

Collaborating activist organizations, together with members of the World Community of Motion Attorneys to which Bach’s group was part of earlier than it was compelled to close down, pledged to affix the marketing campaign. They hope the strike will stress Hanoi to evaluation Bach’s case and that he won’t must go on his personal starvation strike.

“It’s essential for human rights legal professionals and environmental defenders to face up worldwide for our colleague in Vietnam,” stated Meena Jagannath, director of worldwide applications and coordinator of the World Community of Motion Attorneys at Motion Legislation Lab. “This type of solidarity is vitally essential for the way forward for the area and the planet.”

Translated by Anna Vu for RFA Vietnamese. Edited by Roseanne Gerin and Malcolm Foster.

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