Ahead of an appeal hearing on Thursday for Pham Doan Trang, an independent journalist and human rights defender who was sentenced on propaganda charges to nine years imprisonment in December 2021, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Research Emerlynne Gil said:
“There is no doubt that Pham Doan Trang should never have been sentenced to nine years in prison in the first place. She is a courageous journalist and human rights defender who stood up for detained activists and criticized man-made environmental disasters and land grabs.
“The trial on Trang’s appeal occurs amid an ongoing crackdown on free speech and civil society in Viet Nam. Her human rights insights and activism have been sorely missed. Instead of welcoming her views on the human rights situation in the country, Viet Nam’s authorities have left her languishing behind bars, with multiple concerning reports about the frailty of her health.
“Amnesty International calls for the immediate release of Pham Doan Trang and all arbitrarily detained human rights defenders in Viet Nam, including activist Nguyen Thuy Hanh, journalist Le Van Dung, and land rights defenders Can Thi Theu, Trinh Ba Tu, Trinh Ba Phuong and Nguyen Thi Tam.”
The People’s Court of Hanoi will hold an appeals trial for Pham Doan Trang on 25 August. On 14 December 2021, Trang was sentenced to nine years by the court for “making, storing, distributing or disseminating information, documents and items against the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.”
On 26 October 2021, 28 human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, called for Pham Doan Trang’s immediate and unconditional release.
She is the author of multiple books that address everything from LGBTI issues and women’s rights to activism, environmental concerns and land rights. In 2019, Reporters Without Borders awarded her a Press Freedom Prize in recognition of her impact. Her work on the Liberal Publishing House helped it receive the prestigious Prix Voltaire award in 2020 for its continued coverage in spite of risks and dangers of reprisals.
This year, Trang was awarded the 2022 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders and the International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists.