(VNRN) – At least
five forty people were arrested and others confined to their hotel rooms Aug. 25 in southern Dong Thap province when they tried to attend the trial of a human rights activist to take place the next day.
Days before the trial which is said to be open to the public, local police were deployed in large number in an effort to prevent activists and supporters of the defendants from coming to Dong Thap. Many activists in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City were confined to their homes, while those that made it to the province now face police raid and detention.
They were attempting to attend the trial of Bui Thi Minh Hang (Bùi Thị Minh Hằng), 50, Nguyen Van Minh (Nguyễn Văn Minh), 34, and Nguyen Thi Thuy Quynh (Nguyễn Thị Thúy Quỳnh), 29, charged with “inciting public disorder.”
Near midnight Aug. 25, police and security forces launched a sudden raid, known as an “administrative check,” at the hotel where Hang’s daughter and son-in-law were staying. Both their ID cards were confiscated by local police. Hang’s daughter Quynh Anh (Quỳnh Anh) said she believed the confiscation was meant to prevent them from entering the courtroom.
At the same time, three groups of activists were locked in their hotels in Dong Thap, many of them are members of the Vietnam Path Movement, No-U Hanoi, No-U Saigon. Five members of the Vietnamese Association of Women for Human Rights were confined to their without food and water. One of them, Nguyen Thi Anh Ngan (Nguyễn Thị Ánh Ngân) had her seven-month old child with her.
Sources said police were now deploying to their fullest to arrest and stop Bui Hang’s supporters from going to the court. It is expected that jamming devices will be installed in the court area to block phone signals and Internet connection.
On February 11, 2014, Bui Hang and two Hoa Hao Buddhists named Nguyen Van Minh and Nguyen Thi Quynh were arrested by the Dong Thap police in a fabricated case of “disturbing public order” on their way to visit former political prisoner and lawyer Nguyen Bac Truyen. They were arbitrarily and unlawfully detained for five months before they were prosecuted in July 2014.
Bui Hang’s son, Tran Bui Trung (Trần Bùi Trung), embarked on an advocacy campaign in the United States on August 4 for the release of his mother and her two companions.