In a crackdown against activists before Vietnam’s five-yearly national congress, Trang was detained hours after the 24th annual US-Vietnam human rights dialogue. The democratic activist and writer is facing charges for allegedly “making, storing, distributing or disseminating information documents and items” in opposition to the Vietnamese state. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
Trang is known both for her coverage of women’s and LGBTQI+ rights, democratic activism and environmental issues and been involved in rallies highlighting the plight of imprisoned dissidents and China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea. She has experienced government harassment and physical assault on multiple occasions, and denounced a highly sensitive land rights clash in Dong Tam Village, in which four people were killed.
At least 25 activists and 29 land petitioners have been arrested in Vietnam in 2020. Social media giant Facebook is also facing pressure from the Vietnamese authorities to censor content deemed “anti-state”.
The IFJ said: “The IFJ stands with Pham Doan Trang and highlights the patently dire situation for journalists and activists who attempt to inform the public and provide alternative views from the state narrative. It urges the Vietnamese authorities to take measures for her immediate release.”