CTV Danlambao - Translated by Jasmine Tran - The appeal hearings of environmental activist Hoàng Đức Bình will take place in Nghệ An Court of Appeal on 24 April 2018. Binh has been charged of “Abusing democratic freedoms” and “Resisting persons in the performance of their official duties” under articles 258 and 257 of The Communist Penal Code.
The Vietnamese government has harshly sentenced Binh to 14 years in prison in a trial court on 6 February 2018.
Around thirteen of Binh’s family members have been assaulted and arrested when they tried to attend the trial court, which was declared by the government as an “open court”.
“I will still come to attend my brother’s appellate court”, Hoàng Đức Hảo, Binh’s younger brother affirmed. This is despite Hao being one of the most severely attacked in the police station prior to Binh’s trial court.
“There were nearly ten of them who took turns using a hammer and shoes to strike my head and face; this caused a seizure and I fainted. When I woke up, they called for more people, shut the door, and kept beating me. They said that my family was their enemy. Then they forced me to sign that I hadn’t been beaten at all, and they made me to unlock my mobile phone for them,” Hao revealed.
Another younger brother of Binh also expressed his concern to DanLamBao’s reporter prior to the Court of Appeal: "I am very worried for my family’s safety because all of us have previously been brutally beaten."
In May 2017, activist Hoàng Đức Bình (born 1983, residing in Hưng Nguyên, Nghệ An) was detained in Diễn Châu district. The vicious arrest, without any legal summons, had caused a protest of thousands of local people marching to Diễn Châu’s police station, demanding Binh’s immediate release.
It is necessary to acknowledge that Binh was amongst the most active environmental campaigners in Nghệ An and Hà Tĩnh, the two provinces which suffered most from the marine disaster caused by the Formosa steel plant. Binh had helped local people to gather information about their losses and damages, assisted them to write petitions and appeals, and joined protests demanding the Formosa steel plant to be closed. He also had posted on social media news of fishermen being attacked and harassed by the government, when these fishermen began taking legal action against Formosa.
Hoang Duc Binh is also vice president of the Viet Labor Movement (Phong trao Lao dong Viet), an organization expressly founded to help workers to acquire their rights.
Lawyer Nguyễn Khả Thành and lawyer Hà Huy Sơn will defend Binh in the coming appeal court. Earlier, in the trial court during the argument stage, the judge had continually interrupted the process, preventing the defence lawyers from fully performing their duties.