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Vietnam Imprisons Political Prisoner in Solitary Confinement for 18 Months, Reports Radio Free Asia

Nguyen Duc Hung, a political prisoner in Vietnam’s Nam Ha Prison, has been held in solitary confinement for 18 months, as reported by his family to Radio Free Asia.

Despite the law stipulating a disciplinary period of only 10 days for violating prison rules, Hung, aged 33, received a five-year and six-month sentence in a trial without legal representation for allegedly engaging in anti-state propaganda.

He had campaigned against the Formosa Plastics Group steel factory, which had polluted the water supply in 2016 by discharging waste.

Sent to serve his sentence at Nam Ha Prison, Hung faces harsh conditions, including limited family visits and being kept in solitary confinement as punishment for receiving noodles from another political prisoner.

Despite suffering from various health issues, including stomach problems and headaches from a childhood accident, Hung is being denied access to his metal-framed spectacles to aid his shortsightedness.

Regulations at the prison allow disciplined prisoners like Hung to have limited interactions with their families, but discrepancies exist in the communication process.

Attempts to hire lawyers have also been complicated by the prison’s rules, which only permit relatives to meet with prisoners, raising concerns about Hung’s legal representation.

Human Rights Watch has condemned Vietnam’s treatment of individuals like Hung, calling for his immediate and unconditional release, emphasizing that freedom of expression should not be criminalized.

Former detainee Nguyen Viet Dung, who spent over two years in solitary confinement at Nam Ha Prison before fleeing the country, highlighted the consecutive application of disciplinary sentences by the prison, resulting in prolonged periods of isolation.

Translated by RFA Vietnamese. Edited by Mike Firn and Taejun Kang.

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