Montagnard Activist Y Quynh Bdap, Co-founder of Montagnard Rights Group, Reportedly Detained

Montagnard Activist Y Quynh Bdap, Co-founder of Montagnard Rights Group, Reportedly Detained

Notable events:

  • Thai Authorities Reportedly Detain Montagnard Activist Y Quynh Bdap
  • Electronics Manufacturer Samsung Flouts Safety Standards and Pollutes Vietnam’s Environment
  • International Federation of Journalists Calls for Huy Duc’s Immediate Release

Montagnard Activist Y Quynh Bdap is Detained in Thailand

According to activists familiar with the matter, Thai authorities on June 11 detained religious freedom activist Y Quynh Bdap, 32, a political asylum seeker who fled Vietnam to Thailand in 2018 due to government persecution. Bdap is the co-founder of the Montagnards Stand for Justice (MSFJ). This U.S.-registered advocacy group campaigns for the human rights of the indigenous Montagnard people, who primarily reside in Vietnam’s Central Highlands.

VOA News Vietnamese reported that the Thai Royal Police had detained Y Quynh Bdap, a political asylum seeker recognized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), one day after he had an interview at the Canadian Embassy in Bangkok regarding his asylum application on June 10. The reason for the Montagnard activist’s detention was unclear. Many activists are concerned that Bdap could be deported to Vietnam, where he would face a lengthy sentence on “terrorism” charges.

In an article published in May 2023, the People’s Police Newspaper, a mouthpiece of the Ministry of Public Security, called Bdap a “troublemaker” who ruins the lives of civilians in the Central Highlands.

Previously, in November 2013, the Dak Lak Provincial Police issued a special wanted notice for six people, including Y Quynh Bdap, and accused them of “conducting terrorist activities” after a group of armed assailants opened fire at two provincial headquarters in Dak Lak resulting in the death of several police officers. A court in Dak Lak last January convicted and sentenced nearly 100 defendants involved in the attack to between three and a half years to life imprisonment.

Bdap denied the accusations and said the government had slandered and unjustly accused him. He was tried in absentia and received a 10-year prison sentence.

International Federation of Journalists Calls for Huy Duc’s Immediate Release 

The Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), in a statement released on June 11, condemned the Vietnamese authorities’ arrest of Truong Huy San, a journalist more popularly known by his pen name Huy Duc, and urged for his immediate release. The police announced on June 7 that Huy Duc was prosecuted under Article 331 of the Penal Code, which criminalizes “abusing democratic freedoms,” due to his alleged critical postings on social media. 

The IFJ considers Truong Huy San a celebrated writer and journalist known for his several published books and articles. Not long before his arrest, Huy Duc posted a commentary on his personal Facebook account questioning the newly appointed president of Vietnam, To Lam, and raising concerns over the growing power of the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), which controls the police in Vietnam. The MPS is the main investigative agency that assists the anti-corruption campaign initiated by party chief Nguyen Phu Trong. 

In response to the news of Huy Duc's arrest, a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department told VOA News Vietnamese on June 10 that the United States “regularly calls on Vietnam to respect and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms for the Vietnamese people.”  The spokesperson also called on Vietnam “to respect the rights of those detained as well as respect and protect the freedom of expression and association.”

Quick take:

Russian President Vladimir Putin to Visit Vietnam after North Korea: An unnamed Vietnamese official told Reuters that Putin is scheduled to visit Vietnam June 19-20 after his trip to North Korea, but the date has not been confirmed. The agenda for Putin’s trip has not been established, but the official said it could include issues such as energy, military cooperation, the settlement of payments, and education.

YouTube User Fined for Publishing False Information about the Vietnam Football Federation: The Hanoi Police Department on June 7 fined Le Xuan Tien, 40, a local YouTube user, 7.5 million dong ($307) under a cybersecurity decree for his online posting that allegedly “defames” the Vietnam Football Federation, the country’s national soccer alliance. The cybersecurity bureau alleged that Tien’s channel, “Football Dragon,” had affected the reputation of VFF by publishing “distorted and false” content.

Former Director of Publishing Company Reports an Author for Criminal Defamation: State media reported that Nguyen Nhat Anh, former director of Nha Nam, a publishing company, has reported one of its collaborating authors, Dang Hoang Giang, to the police for his “criminal defamation of the reputation and dignity of others.” Previously, Giang announced that he would cease his partnership with Nha Nam after Anh had allegedly sexually harassed one of its female editors. The publishing company previously released an apology letter and said it would “thoroughly investigate” the allegations.

Vietnam Insight: Learn more about Vietnam

How the ‘Politics of Gratitude’ Inflames Cambodia-Vietnam Relations

The Diplomat/ Huynh Tam Sang and Mai Vu Thao My/ June 7

“Underlying the current diplomatic stand-off is a complex and fraught historical relationship. Vietnamese official discourse has generally framed its ties with Cambodia in terms of the politics of gratitude. Remembering Vietnam’s sacrifices during the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge in early 1979, which led to the installation of the current party in power, has been a common theme in state discourse and media reporting. Rhetoric suggesting that “Cambodia is grateful to Vietnam” is most pervasive on the annual anniversary of the toppling of the Khmer Rouge on January 7. Gratitude is intrinsically tied to a sense of “indebtedness,” perpetuating a cycle where reciprocal acts are expected from the Cambodians.”

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