Statement by Spokesperson Heather Nauert on the Conviction of Peaceful Activists in Vietnam

HANOI, February 7, 2018 – The United States is deeply troubled that a Vietnamese court has convicted and sentenced peaceful labor and environmental activist Hoang Duc Binh and Nguyen Nam Phong to fourteen years and two years in prison, respectively, under vague articles of the Penal code.

All people have the right to the fundamental freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly.

Mr. Binh and Mr. Phong’s convictions are the sixth such verdicts over the past week alone of individuals peacefully expressing their views. They are among many individuals convicted this past year for exercising basic rights, including Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh (aka “Mother Mushroom”) and Tran Thi Nga. The trend of increased arrests, convictions, and harsh sentences of peaceful activists since early 2016 is very concerning.

The United States calls on Vietnam to release all prisoners of conscience immediately, and to allow all individuals in Vietnam to express their views freely and assemble peacefully without fear of retribution.

We also urge the Vietnamese government to ensure its actions and laws, including the Penal Code, are consistent with the human rights provisions of Vietnam’s constitution and its international obligations and commitments.