Vietnam Redemptorist News | Imprisoned in Vietnam | July 30, 2011

Job:Internet Reporter
Beats Covered:Human Rights, Politics
Local or Foreign:Local
Length of Sentence:10+ years
Reported Health Problems:No

Hoa, a religious activist and frequent contributor to the news website Vietnam Redemptorist News, was arrested at Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam Redemptorist News, which is run by the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, a Catholic church in Ho Chi Minh City, reports on the plight of the country's persecuted Catholic minority, land disputes between the government and grassroots communities, and other social issues.

Hoa was first detained on unspecified charges under Article 79 of the penal code, which outlines penalties for activities aimed at overthrowing the government. He was also accused of being a member of the exile-run Viet Tan party, an organization outlawed by the dominant Communist party.

In a two-day trial that concluded on January 9, 2013, a court in the northern city of Vinh convicted and sentenced the journalist to 13 years in prison and five years' house arrest on charges of participating in "activities aimed at overthrowing the people's administration," "undermining of national unity," and disseminating "propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam," news reports said.

An appellate court upheld Hoa's prison sentence on May 23, 2013. A devout Catholic, Hoa has been denied access to religious materials while in prison, according to U.S. Congressional testimony in June 2015 by his international defense lawyer, Allen Weiner.

Hoa was being held at Nam Ha detention center in the Kim Beng district of Ha Nam province, according to activists who had communicated with Hoa's family and who spoke to CPJ. Hoa suffers from hemorrhoids, intestinal diseases that cause severe stomachaches, and lower abdominal pain, according to a June 2017 letter he wrote to his family that was quoted in media reports.

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