HANOI, December 19, 2016 – I am deeply concerned by the sentencing of peaceful activists Tran Anh Kim and Le Thanh Tung to 13 and 12 years in prison respectively under Article 79 of Vietnam’s Penal Code.
All people should have the right to freedom of speech and association. The recent trend of arrests and convictions of peaceful activists is troubling and threatens to overshadow Vietnam’s progress on human rights. The lengthy duration of the prison sentences are significant for their severity as well.
The United States calls on Vietnam to release these individuals and all other prisoners of conscience, and to allow all individuals in Vietnam to express their political views without fear of retribution.
We also urge the government to ensure its laws and actions are consistent with the human rights provisions of Vietnam’s Constitution, and Vietnam’s international obligations and commitments.