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Dân Tộc Việt Nam Tự Do – Quê Hương Việt Nam Trường Tồn

Prisoner transferred – An act worthy of heavy condemnation

Posted by Webmaster on October 16, 2013

Người Buôn Gió – Translated by Jasmine Tran (Danlambao)

Vietnamese version: Chuyển trại tù – Hành vi cần phải lên án

Chuyển trại tù - Hành vi cần phải lên án

 …But the discrimination does not end there. It is again seen when the accused person, following sentencing is moved to a completely different, remote region to serve their sentence. This causes much difficulty for family visits, as well as problems for the imprisoned individual. Recently, political dissidents in Vietnam after sentencing were imprisoned locally according to usual practices. But after only a short period of time they have been transferred thousands of kilometres away. Amongst them, blogger Nguyen Van Hai was transferred from the South to the North; worker’s rights advocate Do Thi Minh Hanh, and Mai Thi Dung were all transferred from the South to the North. In the opposite direction, writer Nguyen Xuan Nghia was transferred from the North to Central Vietnam…
Prisons exist all over Vietnam, from the remote mountainous regions of the North to the tip of the Southern land, Ca Mau. They are labelled with many different names such as “re-education camps”, or “enforcement centres”, but the meaning of all these places remains unchanged: a prison.
Normally the prisoners of the North are jailed in the North. There are even Quang Ninh province Hoanh Bo prison for prisoners of the Eastern North. Son La province has Yen Ha prison for the prisoners of the Western North, Yen Bai province has the Quyet Tien prison. Prisoners of the Central North are jailed in Thanh Phong, Thanh Cam, Ky Son, Thanh Chuong in Thanh Hoa, Nghe An province.
The South of the nation has its prisons for the South.
Prisoners serve their sentences around or near where they live, within a distance of around 300 km. If not based in their local area, the court’s location where the prisoners are sentenced can be used as a base to find the most nearby jail. For that reason, in unusual occasions, sometimes a person from the North but sentenced by a court in the South will serve their sentence in the South, and vice versa. Local detainment is enforced partly because in the case of considering an appeal for a reduced sentence, the prisoner’s profile will be examined by the court of the region, so it is easier and more convenient for the court to do a local trial.
Camp guards usually are local people of the province or nearby provinces. The aim of it is to demonstrate the humanity of the law, to make relatives’ visits easy. Local officials also share the same dialects and customs to the prisoners so they could be more understanding or supportive of prisoners. Prisoners are not detained at locations too geographically distant to be affected by the difference in the surroundings, which can affect their health. Additionally, considering emotion support and health, there is no problem for families to visit locally detained prisoners.
Upon imposing sentences to a number of people, the Vietnamese government has stated that there are no political prisoners in Vietnam, no prisoners of Conscience possessing different political opinions – there are only the criminals who violate the penal code of the Republic socialist of VN. But right away, even at the process of the trial there exists methods of discrimination – for example, “public” trials where none are admitted, even family members, parents, siblings are limited.
But the discrimination does not end there. It is again seen when the accused person, following sentencing is moved to a completely different, remote region to serve their sentence. This causes much difficulty for family visits, as well as problems for the imprisoned individual. Recently, political dissidents in Vietnam after sentencing were imprisoned locally according to usual practices. But after only a short period of time they have been transferred thousands of kilometres away. Amongst them, blogger Nguyen Van Hai was transferred from the South to the North; worker’s rights advocate Do Thi Minh Hanh, and Mai Thi Dung were all transferred from the South to the North. In the opposite direction, writer Nguyen Xuan Nghia was transferred from the North to Central Vietnam.
Even though the Vietnamese government has said there exists no discrimination against political dissidents or political prisoners, in reality the imprisonment order of the Republic Socialist of VN cites 3 separate categories of prison camp. In these categories, those accused of breaching the state’s security will be detained in prison camp category 1 (Article 11 Imprisonment Order) together with dangerous repeat offending criminals, 20 year prisoners, and life sentenced offenders. This means individuals accused of “breaching the state’s security” as their first charge, despite an otherwise clear criminal history and a sentence of only a few years, will be detained together with the most serious criminal offenders.
(Category 1 prison camp is nicknamed “Headquarters” by criminal offenders, showing it’s extreme harsh treatment that even gangsters fear)
The transfer of prisoners from one prison camp to another to serve out their sentences is supposedly very limited. If authorities move prisoners to a very different, distant location then it needs to be under the order of competent authorities. This means these individuals belong to a special class of prisoners, and there is an underlying reason for the prisoner’s transfer – Such a transfer will psychologically and physically affect the prisoner. So for this reason article 16 of the imprisonment order emphasized:
– The transfer of prisoners from one prison to another is only to be executed according to orders of the competent authorities according to the law.
Based on local practices, the local courts “review” case profiles to lessen sentences. According to articles 11 and 16 of the imprisonment order, there are signs of discrimination in the classifying of prisoners, and the consequent detaining of those accused of breaching the state’s security with the criminals of category 1. Alternatively, in the cases of Nguyen Van Hai, Do Thi Minh Hanh, Nguyen Xuan Nghia, Mai Thi Dung, the transfer of detainees to a location absurdly far away from their home/sentencing court is another sign of inequity. Their families have the right to request the Ministry of Public Security of Vietnam and V26, Department of Prison Management to provide clear reasons to family members for the transfer between prisons, which organization was responsible for the decision, and what legal regulation it was based on.
The transfer of prisoners to distant locations away from their home towns or sentencing courts is an inhumane procedure, causing difficulties for family visits and troubling prisoners due to different customs, local languages, and alien environments. That act is contrary to the humane principle of the law, which theoretically focuses on creating good conditions for prisoner while serving out their sentence.
On the other hand, the transfer process demonstrates that not only are these prisoners of conscience discriminated against during the interrogation process and trials, but that even when serving their sentences they suffer from unequal treatment in many ways. Transfer procedures cause extreme hardship for prisoners of conscience carrying out their sentences when compared to other prisoners.
The practice of transferring prisoners to distant and remote locations should not only be condemned by the law as according to the imprisonment regulations, but criticised as the inhumane action it is.
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