Dương Đại Triều Lâm (Network of Vietnamese Bloggers) * Translated by Jasmine Tran (Danlambao) - “I am still on hunger strike. Today you can see me but I will only take the books, I won’t take any food!” That was exactly what blogger Mẹ Nấm told her mother, when she visited on July 12, 2018 at Camp 5 Thanh Hoá Prison.
According to Mẹ Nấm’s mother Nguyễn Thị Tuyết Lan, Quỳnh (Mẹ Nấm) rang home on July 6, 2018 to inform her that she would begin an indefinite hunger strike following prolonged cruel treatment in her cell.
As such, today Mẹ Nấm was on the 6th day of her hunger strike to protest her terrifying maltreatment by the prison guards. It was the 6th day the ‘International Women of Courage Awardee’ has risked her own life in a fight against prison officials’ oppression, demanding that her dignity and rights must be respected.
Ms Nguyễn Thị Tuyết Lan added: “Quỳnh said that officials have suggested they would move her to another solitary confinement in another block, where the conditions over are even worse than where she is now. Quỳnh affirmed she continues to suffer from mental torture and abuse. She was thin and miserable."
Despite her ill health and her young grandchildren remaining at home, today Ms Lan, 62, has travelled over 1200km from Nha Trang to Yên Định (Thanh Hoá), in an attempt to hear news about her daughter’s endangered life. During her last visit, on 26 June 2018, blogger Mẹ Nấm appealed to her mother to visit her every month to find out whether she is still alive.It is known that upon receiving the news of Mẹ Nấm’s hunger strike, the U.S. Department of State, Human Rights Reporters of the United Nations, the European
Union, and other international human rights organisations have all written to the Vietnamese Government expressing their concerns over her hunger strike. They have also expressed concerns around the mistreatment of prisoners and poor prison conditions in Vietnamese prisons.
Blogger Mẹ Nấm Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh, born 1979 in Nha Trang (Khánh Hoà) is recently serving her ten year sentence in prison, as she was charged of “spreading propaganda against the state”, according to Article 88 of the Penal Code. Prior to her arrest, Mẹ Nấm bravely fought for national sovereignty, human rights, freedom, and democracy. She has demanded that the government must protect and maintain a healthy environment for the Vietnamese people.
Furthermore she has strongly condemned the abuse and corruption of power within the ruling officials.
With such a contribution, blogger Mẹ Nấm - Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh has been honored by many reputable international awards: The Defender of the Year award in 2015 by the Civil Rights Defender, The International Women of Courage Award in 2017 by the U.S. government, and the International Press Freedom Award in 2018 by the Committee to Protect Journalists.