2 Vietnamese political prisoners push for better conditions

Facebook user Bui Van Thuan is on a 5-day hunger strike while activist Dan Dinh Bach is petitioning authorities.
By RFA Vietnamese service
2024.05.28
2 Vietnamese political prisoners push for better conditions Prisoner of conscience Bui Van Thuan s serving an eight-year term for writing Facebook posts about the internal fighting of state officials.
Bui Van Thuan via Facebook

Fed up with harsh prison conditions, one Vietnamese prisoner-of-conscience is going on a five-day hunger strike and another is petitioning authorities to improve their lot, their relatives said.

Facebook user Bui Van Thuan, 43, and climate activist Dang Dinh Bach, 45, told family members that authorities in Prison No. 6 in the northern province of Nghe An province’s Thanh Chuong district have mistreated them.

Thuan, who began his hunger strike on May 25, is serving an eight-year term for writing Facebook posts about the internal fighting of state officials in various localities, deemed by authorities as content that infringed on national security.

His wife, Trinh Thi Nhung, told Radio Free Asia that he informed her about the plan during a phone call on May 20, to protest harsh prison conditions and to demand that political prisoners be allowed to go outside and socialize in a common yard.

He and two other inmates are being held in a small, stuffy and cramped cell at the end of a prison block with no place for them to move around and exercise, Nhung said.

Hunger strikes are a common form of protest for prisoners of conscience in Vietnam.

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Activist Dang Dinh Bach in an undated image. (Provided by standwithbach.org)

Bach’s family, meanwhile, is petitioning the Board of Prison Wardens for better conditions.

Bach and his cellmate, activist Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, who is serving a 16-year sentence for writing online articles criticizing Vietnam’s one-party communist state, have staged several hunger strikes. 

Thuc went on a week-long hunger strike until early February after prison authorities refused to sell him food from the facility’s canteen. And Bach went two weeks without food in early March because he had run out of the food sent by his family and hadn’t received prison rations since September 2023.

Bach, who is on a vegetarian diet for health reasons, depends on his family for food, and has been denied access to books, hygiene items, hot water and traditional medicine while in jail.

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

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