(VOA) – Hundreds of police and plainsclothes officials raided the home of a Vietnamese human rights lawyer and arrested him in the southern province of Dong Thap on Feb. 9, just days before his planned wedding.
Witnesses say Nguyen Bac Truyen (Nguyễn Bắc Truyển), a former prisoner of conscience whose last prisoner term only ended in 2010, was surrounded, handcuffed, blindfolded and dragged away from the house of his fiancée, Bui Thi Kim Phuong (Bùi Thị Kim Phượng).
Police smashed windows, broke down the doors and destroyed the furnishings, and confiscated Truyen’s cell phone and laptop computer. Truyen has been providing free legal help to peasants whose lands were confiscated.
Police-owned media claim Truyen is being investigated for alleged “theft of property.” Nọ details were provided as to the supposed theft.
Truyen has been a member of Bloc 8406, which advocates for democracy in Vietnam. He was previously convicted of “propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” under Article 88 of the Penal Code and imprisoned from 2007 to 2010.
Human rights organizations and activists have been calling for the abolition of Article 88 as an open and blatant violation of freedom of speech and a brutal tool to silence peaceful dissent.