On July 3, the police of Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi officially announced the arrest of young activist Tran Hoang Phuc (pronounced Phooc, meaning blessings), four days after detaining him without warrant in a renting apartment on Hoang Hoa Tham street, Buoi ward, Tay Ho district, Hanoi.
The police said Mr Phuc will be kept for investigation on allegation of “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 88 of the country’s Penal Code and he will face imprisonment of up to 20 years if is convicted.
23-year-old Mr Phuc is the founder of Vietnamese Students for Human Rights (Hội sinh viên Nhân quyền Việt Nam), a new independent civil society organisation. Its members include university students who want university reform, freedom of education and human rights for students. The group is under the guidance of renown rights advocate and former prisoner of conscience Dr Nguyen Dan Que. Mr Phuc is the second President, spokesperson and drafter of the group’s action plan from now till 2020. He is also in charge of external affairs. Before his detention, he told his friends that he could be arrested because of his activities and his roles in the group; however, with the action plan that he had drafted, the group can continue on with its activities even when he is not around.
Mr Phuc is a member of Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) founded by President Obama.
The group is part of the global Students for Human Rights network (SHR network). It welcomes support – financial and otherwise – and getting in touch with Vietnamese students and students of Vietnamese background overseas.
This article was written by Mrs.Quynh Dao– A close friend of Vietnamese Students for Human Rights Association