Vietnamese authorities charge labor activists with “disrupting security”

Oct 18, 2010

Hanoi – Vietnamese authorities have brought charges against three labour activists for ‘disrupting security,’ an official said Monday.

The indictment said the three often contacted and received money from Tran Ngoc Thanh, chairman of the Warsaw-based Committee to Protect Vietnamese Workers, to print and distribute anti-government leaflets and to foment labour strikes. It said ‘those offenders’ crimes are very serious, operated and organized with the intention to destroy the country’s security, and need punishing.’

The accused are Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung, 29, Do Thi Minh Hanh and Doan Huy Chuong, both 25 years old, said Nguyen To Toan, deputy head of security department No 2 of the prosecutor’s office.

In November 2006, Chuong established the United Workers-Farmers Organization of Vietnam (UWFO) to advocate for labour rights. He was arrested and sentenced to 18 months in prison in December 2007 for ‘abusing democratic freedoms,’ but was released on May 13, 2008 due to poor health.

His father, Doan Van Dien, 55, a co-founder of UWFO, was also sentenced to four-and-a-half years in December 2007.

Hung and Hanh were accused of distributing anti-government leaflets and soliciting farmers’ complaints about government confiscation of their land.

The three face jail sentences of five to 15 years if convicted.

Authorities in Vietnam have jailed dozens of democracy activists and independent bloggers over the past year.

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