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Prisoner’s wife submits petition to Vietnamese authorities after receiving threatening visits

A Florida man accused of posing as his twin brother to receive more than $63,000 in veteran’s benefits has been sentenced to two years in prison, according to federal authorities. (ERIC PAUL ZAMORA/The Charlotte Observer/TNS)
January 05, 2023

This article was originally published by Radio Free Asia and is reprinted with permission.

The wife of Vietnamese prisoner of conscience Bui Van Thuan has filed a petition for help after a series of strangers visited her house, sometimes swearing and asking how she paid for her children’s meals. 

Trinh Thi Nhung said the most recent incident was on Oct. 20, when a tall, young man wearing a mask drove to her house and asked to buy honey but ended up insulting her. 

When the house’s owner asked the man to leave, he turned to Nhung and asked her how she paid for her children’s upbringing. He also claimed someone was giving her money while her husband was in prison. Finally, he told her to move out of her mother’s house and go to her husband’s hometown to live. 

After the incident, Nhung filed a petition with authorities in Mai Lam ward, Nghi Son town, Thanh Hoa province but they said there was no basis to handle it. 

Nhung was previously visited by a tattooed young man. She said he tried to break into the house when only she and her son were inside. She noticed that in the recent visit the car had the same registration plate as the one driven by the tattooed man.

Nhung filed two complaints to Mai Lam ward police to report being harassed, providing a video clip showing the second man with a clear shot of the car license plate.

“On Monday, Oct. 24, I filed a complaint with the commune police. The commune police chief saw the clip and said that because the man had not broken into my house, there was no basis to track him down,” she said.

The person in charge of local security in Mai Lam ward told Nhung if the man came back, she could defend herself or call the ward police.

RFA has not been able to contact Mai Lam ward police to verify the information that Nhung provided.

Nhung’s husband, Bui Van Thuan, 41, was arrested at the end of August last year on charges of “making, storing, distributing or propagating information, documents and items aimed at opposing the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.”

The former chemistry teacher is known for his series of Facebook posts, in which he wrote about the internal fighting of state officials in many Vietnam localities, which he dubbed the “dog fighting ring.”

State media cited documents from the Investigative Security Agency that said Bui Van Thuan was “frequently using social networks to post articles and images with content that infringes on national security.”

More than 12 months of interrogation ended last month. Thanh Hoa province police announced the end of the investigation into Thuan, and transferred the file to the Procuracy to propose prosecution.

Nhung said the family had signed a contract with two lawyers Dang Dinh Manh and Nguyen Ha Luan to defend her husband in the upcoming trial.

Lawyer Dang Dinh Manh met Thuan in prison last week to prepare his defense, Nhung said.

During the time Thuan was detained, Thanh Hoa police repeatedly threatened to arrest his wife because she often announced details of her husband’s case on social networks, and wrote a letter of complaint to demand her husband’s rights were observed.

In March and July of this year, Nhung was summoned for interrogation by the Security Investigation Agency of Thanh Hoa province’s police, asking her to limit the number of articles about her husband that she posted on Facebook.

The police asked Nhung to confirm her husband’s Facebook account and also her social network accounts. When she refused, the police threatened to arrest her for “failing to cooperate with the investigation agency.”