Editor’s note: Following the case of Uyen-Kha, I had a chance to get acquainted with Mrs. Kim Lien, mother of Dinh Nguyen Kha and Dinh Nhat Uy. She has turned from a plain and good-natured farmer to an “expert” on laws and communication who keeps doing whatever she can to save her sons.
Kim Lien sold her family’s sole garden plot. In so doing she earned a modest some of money. And with these limited resources she took the initiative to to connect to world outside of Viet Nam by whatever means necessary. Her reasons for doing so were simple. She had to tell people and the world about the plight of her sons, Kha and Uy, both in jail. Over the last year, police in Viet Nam’s Long An province have been trying to coerce Kha into admitting of terrorism, a crime he has not committed and for which there is no credible evidence.
Their mother has been valiant. Yet now more than ever, Kha and Uy need the public to raise its voice. Doing so will increase the likelihood that these two patriots will be treated fairly before the law, by the law that is in accordance with international conventions of human rights and human and civilized standards.
Uyen and Kha
Once Uyen was released at the trial under her suspended sentence, Kha, her companion in the pamphleting campaign should not have been considered a dangerous criminal that must be isolated from family and legal defense. Moreover, no matter what the crime, no matter how serious, all accused persons should have the right to legal assistance.
The legitimacy of the state is being eroded. The people have been pushed beyond their endurance. This country has suffered from enough pain and hatred. Do not add more pain and hatred. Do not mistreat the young, on whom the future of the previous generations depends.
After her visit to the prison to meet Uy and Kha, Mrs. Lien sent the following email to me as a confidence:
“August 30, 2013. My husband, my daughter ThachThao, and I have visited Uy and Kha in jail.
At around 9am, I heard Thao said some friends from Saigon were coming to visit Uy and Kha. We waited for some time, and those friends came. I just knew one of them as Priest Thanh of the Redemptorist, others were Huynh Cong Thuan, Hoang Dung of the Vietnam Path Movement, Hanh Nhan, and two other people unknown to me.
When we arrived at the prison, they allowed us to meet Uy first, but only my husband and I were accepted while Thao was declined. I asked them why and Mr. Nguyen Quoc Khanh said Thao was not allowed to meet Uy because of her protest on the day of Uyen and Kha’s trial. This “Mr. Khanh” is a public security officer of PA92.
Finally I met Uy. I must say he was very strong-willed and calm, greeting us with a smile. Seeing that, the police phoned their superiors asking something, then they asked us all to go out to sit in the front yard so that Uy could not see our face. But our friends were wise – they wore T-shirts with photos of Uyen and Kha. So Uy saw the T-shirts, and he raised his thumb up in a big smile.
Uy said because the police made a false investigation report, he declined to sign it. Then they made a new report, dated August 24, 2013, and Uy agreed to sign it, but still they did not release him.
Uy told me to ask people to raise concern about his case. “I am innocent. They arrested me just to pressure Kha into admitting guilt. Now they want to keep confining me to force Kha to admit that he’s a terrorist. Please, Mum, tell everybody about this case.”
I told Uy if he knew that they had asked us to bail him out three times. “After their trial of Uyen and Kha, I lose all my confidence on them. I find them unable to decide anything in your case, dear.”
I was interrupted because the time for the visit was up. Uy stood to say good bye to his parents and friends. He gave us the thumbs up and smiled.
Then it was Kha’s turn to meet us. The police only allowed my husband in for they knew he was very gentle and taciturn. Often in my family, we must keep him away from all politically sensitive issues because of his ailment.
Kha told his father that he had been coerced into signing on a confession admitting his guilt of terrorism. His father wondered how he could be coerced, and Kha said if he declined to admit guilt, the police would imprison his whole family. Kha learnt that his elder brother had been arrested, and he was so scared, fearing that the police may also arrest his parents.
Kha said the police had evidence of his terrorism. What evidence was it, my husband asked. Kha said the police had eavesdropped on a voice chat between him and Thanh, who is in Thailand and can hardly be arrested. “Who can testify that it was you and Thanh who were chatting? Before court, just discount your earlier confessions, just speak out that you were extorted, that they did not allow you to access lawyer service and family members for ten running months,” my husband shouted. “Don’t be scared of them, those shameless blackmailers. Never believe them. Whatever they tell you, think of the opposite. There are many people here outside to help your mum and me, so don’t be worried. You must struggle, so that your sentence may be reduced.”
Kha told us not to struggle otherwise they would impose a harsh sentence upon him. My husband was furious, he shouted, “The more you take their words, the more you harm yourself. See Uyen’s case? Her family kept struggling much more than we did, so that she was released at last without anyone else being arrested. Your elder brother is innocent. The police arrested your brother to extort confessions from you. If you do, then you lose.” Kha said, “So, get the lawyer here for me, Dad. I will play all my cards with the police this time.”
Right then the police cut off our line.
Thao and I were standing there watching and almost crying. Kha asked his father why Mom and sister did not talk to him, and his father said the police did not allow that. Kha was so sad.
I did not expect my husband to be so fierce today. On the way home, I asked him, “Why are you so furious today? I heard you shout at Kha without fearing the group of police standing behind you.”
He said, “They are driving our sons into a death trap. How can we just remain watching our sons killed? I told him that I am not scared of death, and that I’m ready to be jailed if that can save his life. I packed my belongings and got them all prepared for any arrest. I told him so to keep him from believing those guys.”
I have just called lawyer Mieng. He told me the police had declined to grant him permission to meet Kha despite his many requests. Next Wednesday he would once more request to meet the two brothers in jail, Uy and Kha.
Translated by Pham Doan Trang from Vietnamese version at blog Thùy Linh (http://www.buudoan.com/2013/09/chuyen-ve-inh-nguyen-kha.html)