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(Bangkok) – A Vietnamese Rights activist Bui Tuan Lam is to be tried on May 25, 2023 on charges of propaganda against the state for his online criticism of the government. If the court convicts him in his trial on May 25, 2023, he could face up to 12 years in prison under Section 117(1) of the Penal Code. The officers should withdraw the charges against them.

Over the past decade, Bui Tuan Lam has publicly advocated democracy for Vietnam. He has said that hisideology and passion“is to advocate for freedom, democracy and human rights,” and he “longed for human rights to become universal in his homeland.”

“Vietnamese authorities crack down on activists and dissidents to treat anything as ‘propaganda against the state’,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Vietnamese government should abolish Article 117 of the Penal Code, which abuses rights, and stop prosecuting Bui Tuan Lam and others for criticizing the Vietnamese Communist Party.”

Bui Tuan Lam (also known as Peter Lam Bui or Green Onion Bay), 39, became famous for making in November 2021 a parody video About Myself Scallion Spread on Noodle SoupImitating celebrity chef Salt Bay, who was spotted Spilling salt and spoon-feeding a $2,000 gold-encrusted steak To To Lam Ko, Vietnam’s Minister of Public Security. ironically the minister was Visit to London as Head of Government Delegation For the Global Climate Change Conference, COP26. Police Summoned And inquiry Bui Tuan Lam several times, and pressured him to close his noodle soup shop, which he did for a few days.

He has participated in many anti china and pro-environmental protests over the years. he once joined the now-dormant no-u fc (No U-Line Football Club), a football team whose members made it their cause Speak up against China’s territorial claims on maritime territories claimed by Vietnam.

He roped in the Know-You humanitarian group to provide aid. poor people in remote areas And Victims of natural disasters in Vietnam. He was harassed and threatened by Da Nang police in April 2020 to provide food relief For the local people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bui Tuan Lam often spoke out in support of fellow activists, political prisoners and their families.

In February 2014, Bui Tuan Lam traveled to Geneva to participate in a civil society Campaign for Human Rights during the Universal Periodic Review Session of Vietnam at the United Nations Human Rights Council. Faced with the risk of retaliation from Vietnamese government officials, he prepared a video Before returning to Vietnam, he asked supporters to release him if he was detained and called on him to continue campaigning for freedom and democracy. When he returned to Vietnam, the police detained him at the airport. interrogated him for hours and confiscated his passport, Since then he has not been allowed to leave Vietnam.

In April 2014, returning from a visit to Bui Tuan Lam’s home Former political prisoner Huynh Ngoc TuanPeople in plain clothes manhandled him and beat him mercilessly.

The police have harassed and threatened him several times for his activism. when he was working in Ho Chi Minh City as a advertising designer, the police put pressure on his landlord to evict him and forced his owner to evict him. Bui Tuan Lam was forced to go back in his hometown of Da Nang, where he opened a sidewalk food stand to earn a living.

The police charge against him in the present case states that:since 2013, Bui Tuan Lam often uses social networks to post numerous articles and videos and livestreams with content that distorts the guidelines and policies of the Party and the State, and supports activities that oppose the Party and the State . In addition, Bui Tuan Lam published and shared articles insulting the honor and reputation of politicians and law enforcement individuals and organizations, with the desire and purpose of changing the regime of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, stirring up confusion and anger among the people. Did it ,

On April 6, 2023, the police informed his defense lawyer that the investigation was complete, and his case was transferred to the People’s Procuracy of Da Nang, which acts as prosecutor. However, on 18 April, his defense attorney received a document from the People’s Procuracy dated 12 April, claiming that Bui Tuan Lam refused to be represented by a lawyer. Le Thanh Lam, Bui Tuan Lam’s wife then filed a petition seeking a meeting with her husband to hear directly from him whether he had waived his right to a defense attorney.

On 24 April, the Procuracy issued a notice to allow lawyers to represent Bui Tuan Lam. But when lawyer Le Dinh Viet later that day requested officials to meet Bui Tuan Lam denied their request On the ground that the court needed more time to investigate the matter. As of 8 May, the authorities had not allowed defense lawyers to meet Bui Tuan Lam.

Robertson said, “Beyond the violation of normal due process, the case against Bui Tuan Lam is made worse by the officers’ bogus claims that they had been in contact for more than seven months with a defense attorney’s own personal information.” waived the right.” “Vietnam should immediately amend its Criminal Procedure Code to ensure that all detainees have full access to legal counsel of their choice upon arrest.”

In the indictment, the Da Nang People’s Procuracy accused Bui Tuan Lam of publishing 19 posts on Facebook between April 17, 2020 and July 29, 2021, and 25 videos on YouTube between December 4, 2021 and September 7, 2022, that “affects people’s confidence about the leadership of the state.”

This includes Facebook posts a letter by prominent human rights blogger pham don trang Published on the day he was arrested, he urged people to advocate for truly free elections in Vietnam and promoted his books criticizing the government, including politics for the people, A Handbook for Prisoners’ Families, on nonviolent resistance techniques, politics of a police stateAnd citizen journalism, Officials said that Pham Doan Trang’s letter violates the law because “it calls for a struggle for freedom and democracy based on Pham Doan Trang’s way of thinking.” The indictment also listed two video clips of his trial.

There are five recorded songs in the video listed in the indictment. The three perform a human rights song, “Return to the People”, written by former political prisoner, Viet Khanh, The song begins with, “Return the rights of liberty to the people; human right; right to see, hear, speak; the right to choose truth and freedom; Right to remove dictatorship. The second song, “Where’s My Vietnam?” Contains anti-China material, also by the Viet Khanh. the third is a Famous anti-war songmother’s legacy,” was written in 1965 by Vietnam’s most beloved song composer, Late Trinh Kang Son,

Robertson said, “The list of posts and videos listed as ‘evidence’ of Bui Tuan Lam’s ‘crimes’ shows the lengths to which the Vietnamese go to stifle any form of online criticism of the government.” “For the Vietnamese leadership, even the songs are a threat to their monopoly of power.”

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