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Vietnamese police disguise as thugs to attack human rights lawyer
Lawyer Nguyễn Văn Đài shares his knowledge in the information session. Photo Facebook Đậu Văn Dương
CTV Danlambao * Translated by Jasmine Tran - Vietnamese police disguised as thugs recently brutally beat lawyer Nguyễn Văn Đài and other members of the Brotherhood For Democracy. Their attack occurred about 5:30 pm on 6 December 2015 in Quán Hành, Nghi Lộc district of Nghệ An province.
The victims had just participated in an information session on human rights with local people. This was to celebrate Human Rights Day on 10 December. Earlier in the day, Đài had organized another class session on human rights, in Vạn Lộc Catholic Parish, Nam Đàn district of Nghệ An province. During that session, plain-clothed police appeared in order to discourage it.
Lawyer Nguyễn Văn Đài swollen face after the beating. Photo Facebook Dũng Nguyễn Quân
Dozens of police officers cruelly assaulted the organizers when they were on their way home.
Speaking to DLB, Đài said: ‘This morning in Nam Đàn Nghệ An we talked about human rights in the 2013 Constitution of Vietnam. We left in the afternoon when the discussion was over. In the taxi we found we were being followed by a group of people. They stopped the taxi, dragged us out and beat us.’
Đài said these people, faces covered, hit him continuously with a big baton, bruising his face and causing his right arm to become terribly swollen. His friends Trần Quang Trung, Vũ Văn Minh, and another young man also were beaten.
Robbed and stripped of warm clothes and shoes
‘After the beating they forced me into a car,’ Đài said. ‘I don’t know what happened to my friends. In the car they robbed me of my mobile phone, my purse, my money, and my personal electronic device. They continuously slapped me on my face, punched me on my ears and on my mouth… At Cửa Lò beach, they stripped me of all my warm clothes and shoes, leaving me with only a thin layer and socks, then kicked me out of the car.’
His family rescued him at 9.00 pm. Even though Đài was savagely beaten and his body bruised, he thought only the soft tissues were harmed.
Lawyer Nguyễn Văn Đài’s injuries after the beating. Photo Facebook Dũng Nguyễn Quân
‘We cannot be frightened’
This was the fifth time since his release from prison that the brave former prisoner of conscience has been beaten by police or security officers disguised as thugs. But these acts of violence cannot discourage his determination to fight for human rights, he says.
‘I have been involved in human rights activities for over ten years. As a lawyer, with legal knowledge, my responsibility is to share that knowledge with all citizens, so they are aware of their rights. Once they know, they can stand up and fight for themselves.
‘This was not the first time I was attacked. In 2014, they assaulted me, hit my head with a glass mug, caused a head injury that needed four stitches. They assaulted again and broke my house door on 30 January 2015, then again on 5 and 6 March.
‘I am not the only victim of the harassment. Many activists have been violently attacked. Human rights defenders in Vietnam risk their lives for their work. However, to be involved in human rights activities means that we cannot be frightened.
‘Whatever happens, we have to fight for our human rights, as well as for other people’s human rights.’
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