Le Huu Minh Tuan

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Police arrested Vietnamese journalist Le Huu Minh Tuan in Ho Chi Minh City on June 12, 2020. He was charged the same day with “opposing the state” under Article 117 of the country’s criminal code. He is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence.  

Tuan, who publishes under the name “Le Tuan,” is a member of the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam (IJAVN), a local unsanctioned independent press group, and has covered daily news for Vietnam Toi Bao, a news website affiliated with the association, according to news reports and a statement issued by the journalists’ association, which CPJ reviewed.

Authorities searched Tuan’s house and seized documents and materials during his arrest, according to those news reports.

According to the Vietnam News Agency, a government-run broadcaster, Tuan was detained in connection with an ongoing investigation into Pham Chi Dung, a journalist and the president of the IJAVN, who was detained in November 2019. 

On November 10, 2020, state prosecutors indicted Tuan at the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Procuracy, thereby confirming the charges filed by police and advancing his case to the court system, according a report by the U.S. Congress-funded broadcaster Radio Free Asia. 

On January 5, 2021, the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court convicted Thuy and sentenced him to 11 years in prison, to be followed by three years of house arrest, under Article 117, according to news reports. 

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued a June 7, 2021, legal opinion calling for Tuan’s release, determining his detention to be arbitrary. 

Tuan was being held Ho Chi Minh City’s Chi Hoa Prison, according to The 88 Project, a rights group that monitors the status of Vietnamese political prisoners. 

Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security, which oversees the country’s prison system, did not respond to CPJ’s emailed requests for comment about Tuan’s status and health in prison in late 2021.