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Vietnam

Jailed Vietnamese activist on hunger strike

Mother of Catholic blogger claims her daughter is being mistreated by authorities and inmates

ucanews.com reporter, Hanoi

ucanews.com reporter, Hanoi

Updated: July 17, 2018 10:33 AM GMT
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Jailed Vietnamese activist on hunger strike

Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh attends her appeal trial at a people's court in the coastal city of Nha Trang on Nov. 30, 2017. She is currently on a hunger strike after being jailed for 10 years. (Photo by AFP)

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The mother of a well-known Catholic female blogger and activist who is serving a 10-year jail sentence has demanded prison officials improve conditions that made her daughter go on a hunger strike.

Nguyen Tuyet Lan said her daughter Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh has been on hunger strike since July 6 in protest at being mistreated at Prison Camp No. 5 in the northern province of Thanh Hoa.

"I ask prison officials to meet my daughter's proper requests," Lan said in a letter sent to the prison dated July 16.

Lan, 62, asked officials to separate Quynh from female inmates who shout at her and pick quarrels and to deal with those who intentionally cause her mental damage. She said Quynh should be kept in normal cells like other inmates. 

Lan, who had a talk for one hour with the blogger also known as "Mother Mushroom" at the camp on July 12, said her daughter was thin and in poor health. The camp is 1,200 kilometers away from her home in Khanh Hoa province.

She said Quynh had been moved to a cell where she has no privacy. She had complained that the cell is inadequately walled and even the toilet can be seen from outside.

Lan asked the prisoner of conscience to give up the strike but she refused. "Quynh told me to respect her decision and added that 'I am aware of my deed,'" she added.

Lan said that she gave Quynh a set of clothes and a book of English grammar, but a Bible was kept by officials.

She said last month Quynh was kept together with three other cellmates. One used cruel words to shout at her all the time but she could not respond. Prison guards accused both of picking a fight with one another.

Quynh has gone on hunger strike three times to protest mistreatment including food poisoning since she was moved to the camp in January from Nha Trang, her home town.

"Prison officials have to take responsibility for inmates' health, lives and safety in the camp," Lan said in the letter.

Last year, a court in Khanh Hoa province sentenced Quynh to 10 years in prison under Article 88 of the Penal Code for conducting propaganda against the state.

Amnesty International reported that at least 97 prisoners of conscience are languishing in jails in Vietnam, many of whom are kept incommunicado in squalid conditions and routinely subjected to torture or other ill-treatment.

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