Vietnamese police falsify evidence to cover up police mistreatment of democracy activist Tran Khai Thanh Thuy

20 10 2009

Radio New Horizon – October 10, 2009

After news of democracy activist Tran Khai Thanh Thuy and her spouse detention have spread, Vietnamese police can no longer deny their arrest. Instead, police have put out a new version, falsely accusing that Mr. Do Ba Tan and Mrs. Tran Khai Thanh Thuy were arrested for “intentionally causing injury” to two neighbours just because their “motorcycle blocked the access’’. These details were announced by police Colonel Vu Cong Long, Dong Da district police chief, to state newspapers.

Radio New Horizon reports on the incident before the modified details were provided by the police Colonel Vu Cong Long:

  • After being jailed by the communist regime for nine months for helping the people in Hanoi seek justice for expropriated farm lands, novelist and democracy activist Tran Khai Thanh Thuy was released in February 2008 and continued advocating for the oppressed despite raising the ire of the police.
  • She is under constant police surveillance and harassment. It is has been reported that police have provoked her family many times without reason. Her home has been vandalized with human feces and her family have been constantly terrorized over the phone.
  • On the morning of October 7, 2009, while making her way to the Hanoi courthouse to attend the trial of teacher Vu Hung, Tran Khai Thanh Thuy was forcibly denied entry. Despite the communist government announcing a “public hearing” for the trial proceedings of Vu Hung, Tran Khai Thanh Thuy was met with police harassment. This happened in the presence of foreign embassy representatives and they themselves had to speak up to intervene . The police eventually angrily backed down.
U.S. Embassy representative,  Mr. Christian Marchant, and Mrs. Thuy being harassed in front of the courthouse in Hanoi.

U.S. Embassy representative, Mr. Christian Marchant, and Mrs. Thuy being harassed in front of the courthouse in Hanoi.

  • On the morning of October 8, 2009, Mrs Thuy rode to Hai Phong to support the six other activists held on trial. However, about 10km from Hai Phong city, the police halted her car and took her away without cause.
  • After several hours of being held incommunicado, she was released to her home around 4 pm. She was then told that she could not leave her house.
  • Approximately around 8:30 pm that night, the police sent plain-clothes officers to her house to cause a disturbance. As they could not distinguish whether they were thugs or the secret police, Mr Do Ba Tan and Mrs Tran Khai Thanh Thuy (though being exhausted from a day of police mistreatment) had to protect themselves by screaming and defending themselves from the two strange men. The entire incident happened in front of police officers who were stationed just outside her house. They did not intervene and let the couple fend for themselves. In the resulting scuffle, Thuy was hit with bricks and suffered an injury to the top of her head.
Tran Khai Thanh Thuy suffered an injury to her head and her mother (right).

Tran Khai Thanh Thuy suffered an injury to her head and her mother (right).

  • The couple went to the hospital themselves, where they were arrested and taken to the district police station and detained throughout the night.
  • With the couple detained and not allowed to defend themselves against their charges, the regime’s state press began publicizing a completely different story of the arrest. Police Colonel Vu Cong Long, Dong Da district police chief, himself narrated the details as follows: “According to Police reports from Dong Da district, around 8:30pm on October 8, Mr Do Ba Tan (Tran Khai Thanh Thuy’s husband) left his motorbike to block the paths at 178 Pho Cho Kham Thien (Trung Phung ward, Dong Da, Hanoi). Mr Nguyen Manh Diep (YOB 1968, residing in Lane 138 Phung Trung, Dong Da), who was walking by suggested him to move his motorbike to clear the way, which lead to an argument. Mr. Tan used his helmet to beat Mr Diep in the face.”
The doctored photograph of  Nguyen Manh Diep’s injuries

The doctored photograph of Nguyen Manh Diep’s injuries

Photograph of the helmet submitted as evidence

Photograph of the helmet submitted as evidence

Bloggers, international reporters, and even some foreign embassies in Hanoi immediately identified some contradictions and false evidence:

  • If Tan “used his helmet to hit Diep in the face” then why did the injury in the provided photograph show deep cuts. Helmets are blunt objects; the objects submitted as evidence are not sharp enough to make such deep cuts.
  • Contrary to the report stating that Tan had “used his helmet to hit Diep in the face,” the photographs instead show that the injury suffered was behind the ear.
  • And most revealing of all, the details imbedded in the electronic images show that the picture was taken in 2005 (original text: Date Time Original: 2005:02:28 10:22:41). The person in the picture, is not proven to be Nguyen Manh Diep, although Colonel Vu Cong Long is careful to identify him as the “victim.”
  • It can be ascertained from the digital information in the electronic image that the picture provider had used Photoshop 7.0 software to intentionally change the date of the images as if it was a new shooting of October 9, 2009. (Software : Adobe Photoshop 7.0; Date Time 2009:10:09 17:14:08)

imagesinfo-2

Conclusion: Vu Cong Long, Dong Da district police chief, used falsified evidence to cover up the police assault of Mr and Mrs Do Ba Tan.

For years, police disguised as civilians have often harassed, threatened and even assaulted activists. Police has been known to destroy their private property, assault them in public, dump refuse in their house, and intimidate them on the phone. In some of these cases the plainclothes officers were caught, surrounded by the public, and forced to self-identify themselves as officers and then leave the scene. Often times, thugs are hired by the police to assault democracy activists in front of uniformed police, who stood by looking on. But if the activists defended themselves, the police would proceed to take them into custody.

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