Vietnamese man serving 8 years in prison released 2 years early

No reason given, but Truong Huu Loc says it was because he could be a whistleblower about prison conditions.
By RFA Vietnamese
2024.07.09
Vietnamese man serving 8 years in prison released 2 years early A large-scale demonstration against draft laws on Special Economic Zones and Cybersecurity in Ho Chi Minh City on June 10, 2018.
AFP

A Vietnamese man who was sentenced to eight years in prison after feeding protesters in 2018 was released two years early.

No clear reason was given, but Truong Huu Loc told Radio Free Asia that he believed he was let go because he could potentially serve as a whistleblower on the condition of the country’s prisons.

Loc, born in 1963, was arrested after bringing bread and water to protesters in a mass demonstration against draft laws on Special Economic Zones and cybersecurity in Ho Chi Minh City on June 10, 2018.

He was prosecuted for “disturbing security” under Clause 1 of Article 118, Vietnam’s Penal Code, and in June 2019 he was sentenced to eight years in prison and three years of probation. 

Friends, relatives and his defense lawyer were not present at the trial.

Loc told RFA Vietnamese he thought he was let go early because he had sent letters to prison and government officials detailing corruption and mistreatment among prison staff.

“They tried to find a way to reduce my sentence to transfer me to another prison so that I could no longer ‘sabotage’ their business,” he said. “They were afraid that I would send the information out.”

He explained that some of the illicit activities included bribery for favors and brutal treatment of those convicted of violent crime.

“When prisoners could be considered for sentence relegation, they sent their staff to solicit bribes in exchange for sentence reduction,” said Loc.

RFA was not able to verify Loc’s claims; calls to two prisons where Loc was interned went unanswered.

According to Loc, he also might have been shown leniency because he never denied any of the activities that led to his charges, and he paid all his court fees 

Loc said that he was arrested together with more than 10 other people. 

These people were beaten brutally while he got only a kick, he said, but he was the only person prosecuted and convicted while the others were released after several days of temporary detention.

After six years in prison, Loc said his health deteriorated significantly due to harsh prison conditions.

He said he suffers from high blood pressure, spinal degeneration, and depression. He said his first goal upon release is to become healthier.

Translated by Anna Vu. Edited by Eugene Whong and Malcolm Foster.

POST A COMMENT

Add your comment by filling out the form below in plain text. Comments are approved by a moderator and can be edited in accordance with RFAs Terms of Use. Comments will not appear in real time. RFA is not responsible for the content of the postings. Please, be respectful of others' point of view and stick to the facts.