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Startseite Urgent Actions 2015 12 Denied medical treatment unless she «confesses»
UA 284/15
Viet Nam
Abgeschlossen am 22. Januar 2016

Denied medical treatment unless she «confesses»

AI-Index: ASA 41/3052/2015

Prisoner of conscience Tran Thi Thuy, currently serving an eight year sentence in Viet Nam, is being denied medical treatment for a tumour on her uterus in circumstances that could amount to torture. Although diagnosed by a prison doctor and despite being in severe pain, she has been told she will receive no treatment unless she «confesses» to the crimes for which she was convicted.

Tran Thi Thuy first became ill around April 2015 while detained in a facility at Long Khánh town in Đồng Nai Province. A prison doctor diagnosed a tumour on her uterus, but she was not provided with treatment. A prison officer told her to admit her crimes or «die in prison». She has difficulty walking, needing a crutch or help. Her family have provided her with traditional medicine. She also has high blood pressure for which she takes medication. Tran Thi Thuy is in severe physical pain and has told her family that she has felt on the verge of death at several points in recent months. The denial of medical treatment in these circumstances could amount to torture and therefore a violation of the Convention against Torture, which came into force in Viet Nam in February after ratification last year.

Tran Thi Thuy is a trader, Hoa Hao Buddhist and land rights activist. She was arrested in August 2010 and tried with six other land rights activists by BếnTre Provincial People’s Court on 30 May 2011. She was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment under Article 79 of the Penal Code for «activities aimed at overthrowing» the state, and five years’ house arrest on release. According to the indictment, all the activists accused of having joined or been associated with Viet Tan, an overseas-based group peacefully campaigning for democracy in Viet Nam. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has stated that the detention of the seven activists including Tran Thi Thuy is arbitrary and should be remedied by their release and compensation.

Tran Thi Thuy is currently detained in An Phước Detention Centre, Bình Dương province, which is approximately 900 km from where her family lives; it takes them three days to get there.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Viet Nam is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which guarantees the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. However, these rights are severely restricted in law and practice in Viet Nam. Vaguely worded articles in the national security section of Viet Nam’s 1999 Penal Code are frequently used to criminalize peaceful dissenting views or activities. Those at risk include people advocating for peaceful political change, criticizing government policies, or calling for respect for human rights. Article 258 (Abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State, the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and/or citizens), is frequently used to detain, prosecute and imprison dissidents for their peaceful activism, including bloggers, labour rights and land rights activists, political activists, religious followers, human rights defenders and social justice activists, and even song writers.

Prison conditions in Viet Nam are harsh, with inadequate food and health care that falls short of the minimum requirements set out in the UN Standard Minimum Rules and other international standards. Prisoners of conscience have been held in solitary confinement as a punishment or in isolation for lengthy periods. They have also been subjected to ill-treatment, including beatings by other prisoners with no intervention by prison guards. Some prisoners of conscience are frequently moved from one detention facility to another, often without their families being informed. Several prisoners of conscience have undertaken hunger strikes in protest at abusive treatment and poor conditions of detention.

Name: Tran Thi Thuy

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