Washington, D.C.: Freedom Now is pleased to announce that Vietnamese labor rights activist Doan Huy Chuong has been released from prison after the conclusion of his unjust seven-year sentence. However, while Mr. Doan has been freed, his colleague, Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung, remains in prison.
“We are relieved to know that Mr. Doan is finally free and has been reunited with his wife and family—but the international community must not forget his colleagues, and the many other Vietnamese citizens, who remain imprisoned in clear violation of international law,” said Freedom Now Executive Director Maran Turner.
Greg McGillivary, a partner with the law firm Woodley & McGillivary, added that “Mr. Doan spent seven years in a Vietnamese prison for peacefully organizing garment workers. The government must allow workers and advocates to organize and it must stop violating fundamental international labor rights such as freedom of association.”
Mr. Doan, Mr. Nguyen, and their colleague Do Thi Minh Hanh were arrested in February 2010 after the trio attempted to organize striking workers at a shoe factory and circulated a list of the workers’ demands. Authorities held the activists for eight months before eventually charging them under Vietnam’s controversial national security laws. Just ten days after being charged, the trio were tried—without the assistance of legal counsel and without the right to speak in their own defense—and sentenced to between seven and nine years in prison. The activists have been repeatedly beaten, subjected to solitary confinement, and suffered from ill-health as a result of the mistreatment and poor prison conditions. After more than three years of imprisonment, Ms. Do was released early in June 2014.
In 2012, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that the imprisonment of Ms. Do, Mr. Doan, and Mr. Nguyen violated Vietnam’s obligations under international law and called for their release. Despite this finding, Mr. Nguyen continues to face years of additional imprisonment.
Freedom Now and Woodley & McGillivary jointly serve as international pro bono counsel to Ms. Do, Mr. Doan, and Mr. Nguyen and will continue to work on the case until Mr. Nguyen is released from prison.