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Luat Khoa and The Vietnamese’s Press Release on the Indictment of Three Members of The Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam (IJAVN)’s

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As media organizations, Luat Khoa and The Vietnamese magazines vehemently denounce the three recent arrests of the three members of IJAVN: Le Huu Minh Tuan (detained on June 12, 2020), Nguyen Tuong Thuy (detained on May 23, 2020, and Pham Chi Dung (detained on November 21, 2019).

All of these three journalists were charged with the crime “publish, store, and disseminate or propagandize information, documentation, and products against the Social Republic of Vietnam” (Article 117 of Vietnam’s current Penal Code). This penal code has already been viewed as a blatant violation of people’s freedom of speech and free press by many human rights organizations. 

IJAVN – together with running its Vietnam Thoi Bao newspaper – is a regular civil society organization formed under the right to associate, and it sets to implement the right for a free press and promote an independent and decent media for Vietnam.

Luat Khoa and The Vietnamese magazines share and support the values in which the IJAVN pursues. 

As journalists, we ultimately care for the safety of our other colleagues. We consider the reality of a government trying to silence any journalist to be an imminent threat to us and anyone who practices free speech.

Silencing journalists is also a violation of the right to read free and independent media of the people.

We have realized that the call for the government of Vietnam to release immediately and unconditionally these three journalists of IJAVN would be unrealistic in the situation of Vietnam. However, that action is the only righteous conduct that the Vietnamese government could act right now, and therefore, we call on them to immediately do so.

We also call on all of the journalists, the activists, the public, the international organizations, and the foreign governments to jointly monitor and pressure the Vietnamese authorities to release the three journalists, Pham Chi Dung, Nguyen Tuong Thuy, and Le Huu Minh Tuan; and to call on the government to respect the Vietnamese people’s right for a free press and the freedom to form associations.

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To contact us, please email editor@luatkhoa.org

Press Release

Statement On The First Anniversary Of The Arrest Of Journalist Pham Doan Trang

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Pham Doan Trang. Photo credits: Adam Bemma/Al Jazeera and Paul Mooney. Graphics: LIV.

October 6, 2021

October 7, 2021 marks the first anniversary of the arrest of journalist Pham Doan Trang by the Vietnamese authorities. She was taken into custody that day and was subsequently charged with “conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” under Article 88 of 1999 Penal Code and “making, storing, spreading information, materials, items for the purpose of opposing the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” under Article 117 of 2015 Penal Code. 

(Previous reports say she was arrested near midnight of October 6, 2020.)

Since then, she has been held incommunicado. Neither family visitation nor legal representation is granted, her family and lawyer confirmed with LIV. In late August 2021, Hanoi’s Bureau of Security Investigation informed Doan Trang’s lawyer that the state’s investigation against her had concluded and that they had recommended a formal indictment based on Article 88, indicating that the Article 117 charge had been dropped. She now faces a possible 20-year prison sentence. 

As a journalist, Pham Doan Trang has dedicated her career to documenting and shedding light on the many atrocities and human rights violations committed by the Vietnamese government, despite the constant threat to her life and safety. Her work has been appreciated by Vietnamese people inside and outside of Vietnam, and has granted her international acclaim. She has also helped bring the attention of the global community towards the abuses of the Vietnamese Communist Party.

Legal Initiatives for Vietnam, Luat Khoa Magazine, and The Vietnamese Magazine stand firm on our condemnation of the actions committed by the Vietnamese government against our co-founder, Pham Doan Trang. The constant harassment she faced from the state, coupled with her arrest and detention, are clear and blatant violations of her right to free speech. Likewise, they constitute a direct attack against the free press and independent unbiased journalism. In the words of our Co-director and Editor-in-Chief of The Vietnamese Magazine, Tran Quynh ViA journalist should be allowed to report and a writer must be able to publish her books in every corner of this world. Journalism is not a crime and journalists should not be treated as criminals. The suppression of these basic human rights should be treated as a crime.”

We once again call on our friends and colleagues to demand the unconditional and immediate release of Pham Doan Trang, as well as the dropping of all bogus criminal charges lobbed against her. We will continue to push for what is right and just until she is given her freedom.

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Luat Khoa Magazine

The Vietnamese Magazine

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Press Release

LIV’s Petitions The Aid Of U.S Vice President Kamala Harris In The Release of Pham Doan Trang

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Photo credit: Adam Bemma-Al Jazeera/Getty. Graphics: The Vietnamese.

Legal Initiatives for Vietnam (LIV), a non-profit, non-partisan organization that works to build a truly democratic society in Vietnam through independent journalism, research, and education, released an open letter on August 21, 2021, addressed to the office of the United States Vice President, Kamala Harris.

Following the publication of the 88 Project’s own correspondence with the Vice President, LIV urges her to bring up these additional issues with Vietnamese leaders during her planned visits to Singapore and Vietnam:

  • the unconditional release of several illegally detained and imprisoned journalists, including LIV’s co-founder, Pham Doan Trang and;
  • the unblocking of independent news websites, such as luatkhoa.org and thevietnamese.org 

On October 6, 2020, at 11:30 pm, Pham Doan Trang was arrested by Vietnamese state forces. She was subsequently charged with violating Article 88 of the 1999 Penal Code by “conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” and Article 117 of the 2015 Penal Code for “making, storing, spreading information, materials, items for the purpose of opposing the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.”

Following her abduction, she has “been held incommunicado, denied visitation from her family and her lawyers, and she faces up to 20 years of imprisonment.”

Through their open letter, LIV hopes that Vice President Kamala Harris can help push the current state of Vietnamese media towards a freer and more inclusive environment where no journalist needs to fear oppression by their government. 


LIV’s open letter on Pham Doan Trang, click here

For more information about Pham Doan Trang, click here

For news about the 88 Project’s open letter, click here.

To show your support for Pham Doan Trang, please consider signing this petition.

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Press Release

Statement On The Upcoming Trial Of Three members Of The Independent Journalists Association Of Vietnam

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Le Huu Minh Tuan (left), Nguyen Tuong Thuy (middle), Pham Chi Dung (right). Photo Courtesy: SBTN.

January 4, 2021

We, the undersigned media organizations, condemn the arrest, detention, and the upcoming trial of the three journalists, Pham Chi Dung, Nguyen Tuong Thuy, and Le Huu Minh Tuan. The Vietnamese government has charged them with Section 2, Article 117, of the 2015 Penal Code (revised in 2017) for “making, storing, spreading information, materials, items that contain distorted information about the people’s government.” The trial is expected to commence on January 5, 2021, at the People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City.

The three journalists mentioned above have been active members of the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam (IJAVN). Mr. Pham Chi Dung is the president, Mr. Nguyen Tuong Thuy is the vice-president, and Mr. Le Huu Minh Tuan is the editor. All three have also been journalists for the Vietnam Time newspaper, a media organization of the IJAVN.

These journalists are being persecuted and brought to trial because they have exercised their rights of free speech, free press, and the freedom of assembly. These are the fundamental human rights that both Vietnam’s Constitution and international law wholeheartedly recognized. The Vietnamese regime may use whichever propaganda to rationalize its decision, but it cannot change the facts and the reality of this case. The truth is that in Vietnam, the current regime has put itself in the same position as the feudal monarchies of the past and is sentencing people in a literacy inquisition.

We declare that we stand with Pham Chi Dung, Nguyen Tuong Thuy, Le Huu Minh Tuan, and the IJAVN to build a free media in Vietnam. We demand the Vietnamese government immediately and unconditionally release the three journalists.

Jointly signed,

Luat Khoa Magazine

The Vietnamese Magazine

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