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Alarming Human Rights Abuses in Vietnam: Human Rights Activist Severely Beaten

(Hanoi, Vietnam). On December 31, 2013, several prominent human rights activists including Attorney Le Thi Cong Nhan, a member of Vietnamese Women for Human Rights Organization, Mr. Ngo Duy Quyen, her husband, Mr. Huynh Ngoc Tuan, and Mr. Pham Ba Hai visited Mr. Pham Van Troi at his residence in Ha Tay near Ha Noi. Mr. Pham Van Troi is a former prisoner of conscience. The purpose of the trip was to visit with Mr. Troi and his family. At the lunch hour, several policemen forcibly entered Mr. Troi's house and demanded that everyone go to the Tien Duong police station for questioning.

In total, eight policemen unlawfully detained the group. The assistant police chief harassed the human rights activists using derogatory language and detained them for more than six hours. In particular, the policemen forced Mr. Huynh Ngoc Tuan into a closed room whereby six policemen punched and elbowed him in the head, neck, chest, and abdomen. On several occasions, the police threatened that they were "able and ready" to beat the detainees to death. Eventually, the group was released. Mr. Huynh Ngoc Tuan was immediately taken to the hospital and has since been diagnosed with a fracture of the sternum along with significant rib bruising.

Vietnam recently signed the 1984 United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Treaty and was elected to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in November 2013. Unfortunately, human rights abuses continue to be widespread in Vietnam and are occurring at an alarming rate. The December 31st incident is just one of many examples of police brutality in Vietnam and highlights the common use of physical assault against human rights activists.