Pham Doan Trang, the 2017 Homo Homini Laureate, detained in VietnamPublished: Feb 26, 2018 Reading time: 2 minutes
Pham Doan Trang, the Vietnamese blogger who will be awarded the Homo Homini prize in absentia on Monday, March 5, was detained in Vietnam last weekend. She was interrogated about the her last book which focuses on democracy. Trang will receive the Homo Homini award for her extraordinary contribution in the protection of human rights.
Last weekend, Pham Doan Trang was visiting her parents for the celebrations of the Vietnamese New Year. On Saturday, at around 2 o‘clock in the afternoon, two policemen arrived at their home. They deceived Trang‘s mother to open the door by claiming they were representatives of the EU Delegation. Meanwhile, more members of the Vietnamese police were waiting downstairs. Once Trang‘s mother opened the door a little, the two policemen forcefully, and unlawfully, entered the house, dragged Trang to the car and drove her to the investigation office.
The police demanded information about her last book, “Politics for All”, which presents and explains basic political concepts to the wider Vietnamese society. They tried to find out where the book was printed. Before releasing her, they had threatened to come for her again. They also warned her not to write about the incident, or else she will face an even bigger pressure. They ordered her not to leave the house, which was surrounded by security units at the time.
That night, Trang called her friend Trinh Kim Tien. “It seems they are trying to frighten me before arresting me,” she told her.
She also wrote a letter, posting it on her Facebook page. “At such times, your support and trust represents the biggest protection for me,” she writes. “I fight dictatorships, and because the current Vietnamese communist regime is a dictatorship, I fight against it.”
In the end, Trang managed to leave her parents‘ home and hide in a safe place. The question is, for how long?
It is not the first time Pham Doan Trang was detained and interrogated. Furthermore, she was also physically attacked by the security forces in the past, causing her a chronic knee injury. The repeated threatening and persecution of the blogger, whose job and efforts aim at informing the Vietnamese society about basic human rights, is alarming.
By this, Vietnam violates its obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, its constitution and its own laws.
The Homo Homini prize for 2017 will be awarded to a persecuted Vietnamese blogger