Activist arrested just days before Tet

Thuy Nga was arrested after a sustained campaign of harassment and intimidation

The police have arrested a well known human rights activist and her husband just days before Vietnam celebrates the lunar new year, traditionally a time of amnesty and reconciliation.

Tran Thi Nga, who is also known as Thuy Nga, had complained of a prolonged period of harassment by security officials.

She was charged with conducting propaganda against the state under article 88 of the penal code, a charge frequently used to silence government critics.

The night before the arrest – at her home in Ha Nam in the Red River delta – dozens of police had surrounded her house and banged on the door.

Nga uploaded footage of the police action to Facebook, asking in despair what the police wanted from her.

Her husband, Phan Van Phong, was also arrested and taken away in a separate vehicle. It is not known where they are being held.

Thuy Nga, 40, first became known for her work with female migrants to Taiwan and became a member of the Association of Vietnamese Women for Human Rights.

She has consistently raised her voice against injustice and poor governance in Vietnam.

The police failed to silence her despite a campaign of violence and intimidation, including a vicious assault in 2014 when her left arm and right leg were broken by assailants wielding metal bars.

Although Nga was able to film part of assault, and sent the film to local authorities as evidence, no investigation was carried out.

Nga’s two young sons were left at her home and it was not immediately clear who was caring for them.