|Thái Văn Dung|
|Known for||Democracy Activism|
|Home town||Diễn Châu District, Nghệ An Province|
Thái Văn Dung is a Vietnamese activist of the Catholic Church. He was arrested in Vietnam on 19 August 2011, sentenced to 4 years of prison and 4 years of house arrest.
Dung was arrested on August 19, 2011 in Hanoi, Vietnam. He was charged with conspiracy to overthrow the Vietnamese government under clause 2, Article 79 of the Criminal Code.The arrest happened during the 2011 crackdown on Vietnamese youth activists, which included 17 other Vietnamese youth activists.
Between July 2011 and December 2011 a series of young Christian Vietnamese activists, primarily located in northern province of Nghệ An, Vietnam, and working with the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, were arrested by the Vietnamese government for protesting for land rights and circulating a petition to free prominent legal rights activist Cu Huy Ha Vu, a prominent human rights defender who was imprisoned for seven years in April 2011.
On January 8–9, 2013, 14 Catholic and Protestant activists, one of whom was Thái Văn Dung, stood before the People’s Court of Nghệ An Province on trial. All were sentenced to 3–13 years in prison on charges of subversion.Dung was accused of maintaining ties with Viet Tan, a US-based pro-democracy organization to establish democracy and reform Vietnam through peaceful and political means.
On August 19, 2015, Thai Van Dung was released.After 4 years of imprisonment, he confessed “I will bring awareness on the suppressed freedoms of religion and human rights people face in prison”. Dung claims he will continue to protest for Vietnam democracy and is mentally prepared to face prison again.
He was transferred between K3, K5, and K6 prisons and was locked in rooms between 7-9 square meters. On two occasions, Dung was disciplined for disobeying prison officials' orders because he starved himself after they denied him access to newspapers, radio, TV, and an electric fan.He repeatedly requested human rights and freedom of religion from prison officials, and protested the harsh treatment throughout his time in prison. At the same time, authorities continued to pressure him to confess his crime every 3 months.
On January 8–9, 2013 a trial was held by the People's Court of Nghệ An Province, Vietnam for 14 democracy activists, primarily belonging to the Catholic church, including high-profile blogger Paulus Le Son. All of them were sentenced to 3–13 years in prison on charges of subversion. Many human rights organizations have called this the "largest case of its kind" in Vietnam, and condemned the sentence. Many organizations, including the US Embassy in Vietnam, have called for an immediate release of the dissidents.
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