Đời SốngVietnam

More than 200 people sign petition urging Vietnamese activist’s release

More than 200 people have signed a petition calling for a detained Vietnamese activist who was recently diagnosed with stage 2 cervical cancer to be declared exempt from any criminal prosecution.

Before her 2021 arrest on “anti-state propaganda” charges, Nguyen Thuy Hanh raised money for families of people jailed for their political or religious views.

After a year at a Hanoi prison, she was forced into treatment for depression at the Central Mental Institute in Hanoi. Earlier this month, she was diagnosed with stage 2 cervical cancer, according to her husband, Huynh Ngoc Chenh.


Hanh, 61, has been receiving a combined treatment of radiation therapy and chemotherapy as an outpatient at Hanoi’s Hospital K, the country’s largest cancer hospital, Huynh said on Facebook last week. The treatment regimen is expected to last for three months.

Former prisoner of conscience Dang Thi Hue posted a petition on Facebook on Saturday that argues that Hanh would receive better treatment at home with family and friends. 

It also cites Article 62 of the country’s criminal code, which stipulates that prisoners who have contracted terminal illnesses are exempt from serving prison sentences, and Article 67, which says that those who contract severe illnesses “are exempt from serving prison sentences” until they have recovered.

“The treatment of depression and cancer needs a combination of a health care center’s regimen and psychological therapy – and the best psychological therapy is love and family care,” the petition says.

Other petitions

Signatures will continue to be collected until Feb. 2. The petition will then be mailed to the Hanoi City Prosecution Institute and the Hanoi Police’s Inspection Agency, Hue said.

“In my opinion, it is urgently necessary to stop the investigation of Hanh’s case to let her get medical treatment,” she told Radio Free Asia. 

A second petition calling for Hanh’s release is being circulated by the Le Hieu Dang Club, a group of intellectuals who often speak out about national issues.


A third petition was sent on Thursday by the Hung Dao Thang Long Law Office, which is representing Hanh. It cites Article 2 of the 2009 Law on Seniors and other humanitarian stipulations in Vietnamese law.

“For Nguyen Thuy Hanh, we hope that the proceeding authorities will examine the case of a senior woman who has contracted a number of illnesses,” the law firm’s petition said. “She should be subject to the most humane stipulations provided in the Penal Code.”

A Hanoi human rights lawyer who spoke anonymously for security reasons told RFA that Hanh is clearly eligible to be exempt from prosecution. But he said he wasn’t optimistic that Hanoi authorities would apply the humanitarian provisions to her case.

Edited by Matt Reed.


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