Vi Đức Hồi

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Vi Đức Hồi
Born c. 1957
Lạng Sơn Province, Vietnam
Nationality Vietnamese
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]


  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.