Activity: Novelist, journalist, democracy activist
Location: Hoa Lo prison, Ha Noi, Viet Nam
Sentence: Imprisonment without trial
A prolific novelist and journalist, Tran Khai Thanh Thuy is the 2007 recipient of Human Rights Watch’s Hellman/Hammett Award and an Honorary Member of English PEN. A member of Bloc 8406, she is also an editor for the underground magazine To Quoc (Fatherland). Since September 2006, she has been repeatedly harassed and interrogated for writings and publishing online articles critical of the government. In October 2006, in a show trial in the “People’s Court,” organized by the Vietnamese authorities, she was publicly denounced and humiliated by hundreds of people gathered by police. On April 21, 2007 she was arrested at her home and later sentenced to nine months and ten days imprisonment for “disturbing public order.” She suffers from diabetes and advanced tuberculosis but was refused medical care while in detention. Tran Khai Thanh Thuy was released on January 31, 2008. She and her family are now constantly under police surveillance and subjected to harassment. Her home is regularly attacked by thugs hired by the police.
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 had to protect themselves by screaming and defending themselves from the two strange men – this happened in front of their 13 year old daugther. 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.
The couple were arrested and taken to the police station in Dong Da district, Hanoi. While the couple detained, the state press began publicizing a completely different story of the arrest. Tran Khai Thanh Thuy is now charged with assault. According to family sources, Tran Khai Thanh Thuy was moved to Hoa Lo prison in Hanoi on the morning of October 19th.