PARIS, 26 February 2014 (VIETNAM COMMITTEE) – The Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR) is deeply shocked by reports that dissident Nguyen Bac Truyen and his wife Bui Thi Kim Phuong were brutally beaten by Police as they made their way to the Australian Embassy in Hanoi on Monday 24 February. They were invited by the Embassy to report on prior Police violence during a raid at their home in Dong Thap Province earlier in the month.
Nguyen Bac Truyen after his aggression on 24 February 2014
According to reports, Truyen, a lawyer and former political prisoner was in a taxi with his wife around 2.30 pm when plain clothed security agents suddenly intercepted the vehicle at the intersection of Tuan Dao and Lieu Giai streets. They dragged them both out of the car and brutally beat them. They also beat the taxi driver. Truyen was beaten in the face and knocked to the ground. His wife was also punched in the face. The security agents continued the beatings until a crowd gathered. They then walked away, leaving the couple covered with blood. Truyen and his wife continued on to the Australian Embassy, and were taken by staff for treatment at a nearby hospital.
Nguyen Bac Truyen, aged 47, has been repeatedly detained and harassed because of his advocacy for human rights, in particular the rights and treatment of political and religious prisoners. In 2006, he was sentenced to 3 1/3 years in prison on charges of “circulating anti-Socialist propaganda”. Most recently, on 9, February 2014, when he went to the southern province of Dong Thap to prepare for his marriage with Hoa Hao Buddhist follower Bui Thi Kim Phuong, Police conducted a violent raid on their home, breaking furniture and ransacking the Hoa Hao altar. Truyen was arrested and interrogated, then forced to return to his mothers’ home in Saigon.
In September 2013, Nguyen Bac Truyen sent audio testimony to a Briefing organised by the International Federation on Human Rights (FIDH) and the VCHR at the UN Human Rights Council describing Police harassments against bloggers and dissidents in Vietnam.
Mr. Vo Van Ai, President of the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights, deplored this act of aggression: “Just this month, at its UPR in Geneva, Vietnam told the UN Human Rights Council that: “It is always the consistent policy of Vietnam to respect and promote all fundamental human rights in all political, civil, economic, cultural and social domains””. “The brutal aggression of Nguyen Bac Truyen reveals the horrendous gulf between rhetoric and reality in Vietnam”. He called on Vietnam to “cease police violence against Nguyen Bac Truyen and all other citizens who have done nothing other than exercise the right to freedom of expression enshrined in Vietnam’s Constitution and in the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Vietnam acceded in 1982”.