Human rights defender Professor Pham Minh Hoang was arbitrarily detained on 13 August 2010.
Professor Pham Minh Hoang is a lecturer at the Ho Chi Minh City Polytechnic Institute, and, according to a statement released by his wife following his arrest, he is concerned with social justice and corruption.
On 13 August 2010 Professor Pham Minh Hoang was arbitrarily detained under Article 79 of the Vietnamese Penal Code (VPC) on charges of belonging to a banned political group. Prior to his arrest the authorities had reportedly told the human rights defender that he would be arrested if he did not confess to belonging to the democracy group Viet Tan. Article 79 of the VPC bans any “activities aimed at overthrowing the Government”. Professor Pham Minh Hoang’s current detention location is unknown.
Professor Pham Minh Hoang actively supported protests against bauxite mining in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. He had also attended a conference that was held in Saigon which looked at the issue of Vietnamese sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly Islands. The Professor’s wife has reported that the police are investigating leadership training courses that Professor Pham Minh Hoang had offered to some of his students.
Front Line believes that the arrest and detention of Professor Pham Minh Hoang are a direct result of his legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights, and sees them as forming part of an ongoing pattern of harassment against human rights defenders in Vietnam. Front Line is seriously concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Professor Pham Minh Hoang and all pro-democracy activists in Vietnam.