Defend the Defenders | May 8, 2022
Authorities in Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi have suspended the investigation against local prominent human rights defender Nguyen Thuy Hanh, sending her to a psychological hospital for forced treatment, her husband Huynh Ngoc Chenh told Defend the Defenders.
On May 6, Chenh, a former editor of the state-controlled Thanh Nien newspaper, was informed by the city’s Police Department that his wife was transferred from its temporary detention center to the Hanoi-based National Institute of Forensic Medicine for forced treatment in late April. Police officers involved in the investigation told him that the city’s People’s Procuracy had suspended her case after two health examinations from the institute showed that she was suffering from an acute depressive disorder.
Police investigators said that she would be under treatment until she got well, and then the investigation would be restored.
Chenh told Defend the Defenders that his wife may be kept in enforced treatment for a long term, like the case of blogger Le Anh Hung, who has been under forced treatment since April 2019.
Mrs. Hanh, a successful businesswoman involved in social activities, was arrested on April 7, 2021, on the allegation of “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 117 of the Criminal Code, with imprisonment of between seven and 12 years if convicted.
She actively participated in peaceful demonstrations in Hanoi from 2011-to 2020 to protest China’s expansionism in the South China Sea (Vietnam calls it the East Sea). She also self-nominated as an independent candidate in a parliamentary election in 2016. However, She was eliminated early by tricks of the Hanoi city’s authorities which don’t want independent candidates to enter the national and local legislative bodies.
In 2018, she established a charity fund, namely 50K, to support prisoners of conscience and their families as well as defenders-at-risks. The fund was supported by thousands of people in the country and abroad and helped hundreds of cases until her arrest.
Her arrest is likely related to her support for land petitioners in Dong Tam commune, My Duc district, Hanoi, where the Ministry of Public Security sent thousands of riot policemen to attack the local villagers in the early morning of January 9, 2020, to kill local communal leader Le Dinh Kinh and arrested dozens in a land dispute case. Hanh received more than VND600 million ($26,900) of financial aid for Dong Tam villagers, but the police ordered Vietcombank to suspend her account and keep the amount until now.
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