Vi Đức Hồi

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Vi Đức Hồi
Born c. 1957
Lạng Sơn Province, Vietnam
Nationality Vietnamese
Ethnicity Tay
Known for democracy activist, dissident
Movement Bloc 8406
Spouse(s) Haong Thi Tuoi

Vi Đức Hồi (born c. 1957[1]) is an ethnically Tay Vietnamese democracy activist and former Communist Party official of Lạng Sơn Province. He was imprisoned in 2011 for advocating a multi-party system and democracy.[2]

Hoi joined the Communist Party in 1980 and advanced to a high rank training other party leaders. In 2006, he began to advocate the adoption of a democratic system. The following year, he was stripped of his rank and expelled from the party.[1] He later began blogging as a member of the pro-democracy Bloc 8406 network,[3] writing commentaries about government land disputes[4] and "general anti-corruption issues".[5]

In 2008, he was briefly arrested for protesting the 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay.[3] In the same year, he published a memoir entitled Facing Reality, My Path to Joining the Democratic Movement via the Internet. In it, he wrote: "The biggest loss for a human being is the loss of the right to be a human being; the biggest criminal is the one who robs others of human rights; the most pitiful person is the one who does not understand human rights; the one who deserves criticism most is the one who forgets human rights; the most cowardly person is the one who accepts the loss of human rights. I once deserved to be criticized and was once a coward."[2]

In 2010, Hoi published a fictional version of the death of Nguyen Van Khuong, a young man reportedly beaten to death by police in Bac Giang province after a traffic stop.[2] On 28 October of that year, he was arrested again, immediately ahead of an ASEAN summit.[5] On 26 January 2011, he was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment for "spreading anti-government propaganda" for posting copies of pro-democracy articles online.[1] As is the norm in Vietnam, the trial was closed to media.[4] On 26 April, Hoi's sentence was reduced by an appeals court to five years in prison, followed by three years' house arrest.[6]

Amnesty International designated Hoi a prisoner of conscience and called for his immediate release.[7] The Committee to Protect Journalists also protested the sentence, calling on the government to release him.[8] Front Line Defenders stated that the charges against Hoi were "a direct result of his legitimate and peaceful work as a democracy activist and in the defence of human rights".[9]

In 2011, Human Rights Watch awarded him its Hellman/Hammett award, "recognizing writers who demonstrate courage and conviction in the face of political persecution".[10]

Hoi is married to Haong Thi Tuoi.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Vietnamese dissident sentenced to 8 years in jail". Fox News. Associated Press. 26 January 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "Vietnam: Free Influential Democracy Activist". Human Rights Watch. 22 April 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Viet Nam activist prison sentence condemned". Amnesty International. 26 April 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Vietnam ex-communist dissident jailed for 8 years". Google News. Agence France-Presse. 25 January 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Vietnam arrests activist ahead of summit". Taipei Times. Agence France-Presse. 29 October 2010. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  6. ^ "Vietnam cuts sentence for official turned activist". The Star. Associated Press. 26 April 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  7. ^ "Viet Nam activist prison sentence condemned". Amnesty International. 26 January 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "Online commentator receives harsh sentence in Vietnam". Committee to Protect Journalists. 29 April 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  9. ^ "Appeals court reduces jail sentence of human rights defender Mr Vi Duc Hoi". Front Line Defenders. 26 April 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  10. ^ "Vietnamese Writers Honored for Commitment to Rights". Reuters. 14 September 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2012.