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A Letter of Grievance Against the Use of Terror and Physical Assault by the Chuong Duong Ward Policemen in Hanoi, Vietnam

January 10, 2014
The Honorable Frank Wolf
Co- Chair Tom Lantos Human Rights Caucus
US House of Representatives
Washington DC

DearCongressman Wolf :

We, the undersigned, Huynh Ngoc Tuan (born 1959, currently residing at Tam Ky, Quang Nam), Pham Ba Hai (born 1968, from Hoc Mon, Saigon), Pham Van Troi (born 1972, from Chương Dương, HaNoi), and Le Thi Cong Nhan (born 1979) and Ngo Duy Quyen (born 1974, both from Phuong Mai, Ha Noi), join together in writing this letter of grievance against the policemen at the People’s Committee of Chuong Duong Ward, of Thuong Tin County, Ha Noi City, for unlawfully detaining our group on December 31, 2013, for their use of force to abuse us physically, and for their use of verbal assault to terrorize us emotionally. Please find the details of the incident below.

On December 31, 2013, we, Tuan, Hai, Nhan, Quyen, and Lucas (2 year old son of Nhan-Quyen) visited Troi’s home located in Chuong Duong Ward, Thuong Tin County, Ha Noi. At lunch time, while preparing to depart, we were detained, including Troi (the homeowner), by ten policemen and were forced to the People’s Committee of Chuong Duong Ward Office.

The policemen used force to separate us and kept us in separate rooms to implement their tactics of terror and abuse. One policeman, whose name is Diep, along with his subordinates, isolated Tuan and beat him repeatedly and severely. We witnessed firsthand (those remaining in the group) five policemen gang up on Tuan and beat him without mercy. It was approximately 4:00pm when Tuan was beaten.

The remaining people in our group, Nhan, Quyen, Hai, and Troi, endured verbal assaults by the policemen, assaults which were fueled by derogatory and foul language. The remaining policemen each took turns threatening to beat us to death. They used force and tactics of psychological aggression to terrorize us, including baby Lucas, such that we became physically and emotionally exhausted.

After the policemen beat Tuan in a gruesome manner, and after they emotionally terrorized us, they released us at approximately 7:00pm. We arrived back in HaNoi at approximately 8:30pm. We immediately took Tuan to seek medical treatment at a nearby private hospital called Hong Ngoc Hospital (at 55 Yen Ninh Street).

Tuan was taken to the emergency room. Le Thi Cong Nhan noticed that one of the guards who claimed he was an employee at the hospital was a plainclothes police officer she had seen numerous times before. We stood outside and observed that the doctors at this hospital behaved strangely. They questioned Tuan in a very abrasive and rude manner. Despite sustaining significant injuries from the repeated beatings he received, the doctors concluded after reviewing the chest x-ray that Tuan was completely healthy.

Tuan and his family initially believed the results of the doctor’s examination as they did not want to call attention to the situation. However, on January 7, 2014, Tuan became acutely lightheaded and had significant chest pain. Tuan secretly went to a small community health center in Tam Ky, Quang Nam (his hometown). On January 9, 2014, he was referred to Saigon for further evaluation. Doctors at An Sinh Hospital performed a chest X-ray and found that his sternum had a large, displaced fracture.

Enclosed below, please find the following documents regarding Tuan’s injuries and treatment: the results of his chest X-ray, the doctor’s diagnosis and assessment, and the doctor’s prescription for pain medication to treat the sternal fracture sustained when he was severely beaten by the policemen in HaNoi.

On the morning of January 9, 2014, Le Thi Cong Nhan received back-to-back phone calls from a policeman, Diep, the same policeman who beat Tuan at the People’s Committee of Chuong Duong Ward Office. Diep again used derogatory and foul language, threatened Nhan, and asked her: “Tuan has not died yet?”

Among our group of five people, four are former prisoners of conscience who have endured years of harsh prison sentences and prolonged house arrest orders. Since our release from prison, we have all been harassed and beaten even though we try to carry on normal, daily activities such as visiting our friends. Our normal lives have been turned upside down by the constant police harassment motivated by political vendetta.

We earnestly ask for your prompt attention, thorough investigation of the matter, and examination of the true state of human rights conditions in Vietnam today.

Sincerely,
Jointly signed:
Huynh Ngoc Tuan (prisoner of conscience from 1992 to 2002)
Pham Ba Hai (prisoner of conscience from 2006 to 2011)
Pham Van Troi (prisoner of conscience from 2008 to 2012)
Le Thi Cong Nhan (prisoner of conscience from 2007 to 2010)
Ngo Duy Quyen (Le Thi Cong Nhan’s husband)