Vietnamese human rights defender Nguyen Bac Truyen and his wife Bui Kim Phuong arrived in Germany on the evening of 8 September after he was released from Gia Trung prison in Vietnam.
Truyen, a Hoa Hao Buddhist and legal expert who provided pro bono legal assistance to families of political prisoners, victims of land grabs, and persecuted religious communities, was abducted by Vietnamese police in Ho Chi Minh City on 30 July 2017. He was held in incommunicado arbitrary detention for nine months, and in April 2018 he was sentenced to 11 years in prison on charges of ‘carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the government’.
Serious concerns were raised for Mr Truyen’s safety and wellbeing on multiple occasions during his imprisonment, including in May 2019 when he went on hunger strike along with three other prisoners of conscience in protest of the grievous ill-treatment of a fellow prisoner, Nguyen Van Hoa.
Radio Free Asia reports that Vietnamese state media has been silent on why Truyen was released before serving his prison sentence. In a post on Facebook, Truyen’s wife wrote: ‘My husband and I arrived safely in the capital Berlin - Federal Republic of Germany on the night of September 8, 2023 (Berlin time). We would like to sincerely thank the German Government for my release and the enthusiastic support of the German Embassy and Consulate General throughout the trip.’
CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: ‘CSW welcomes the long overdue release of Nguyen Bac Truyen and we celebrate the efforts of all those who have campaigned for his freedom over the past six years. We reiterate that he should never have been imprisoned in the first place, and we continue to call for the immediate and unconditional release of all remaining prisoners of conscience in Vietnam. We also wish Truyen and his wife great peace and joy as they build a new life for themselves in Germany.’
Note to Editors:
- Truyen was one of six activists who received sentences of between seven and 15 years in prison in April 2018. The pro-democracy activist Nguyen Van Dai and his assistant Le Thu Ha were released into exile in June 2018. Nguyen Trung Ton, Pham Van Troi and Truong Minh Duc all remain in prison at the time of writing.