The communist government in Vietnam arrested several Christian rights activists in late July following a 19-month-long investigation into their activities for "serious" crimes, according to the Morning Star News.
Human rights lawyer and blogger Nguyen Van Dai, who had previously served eight years in prison and house arrest, associate Le Thu Ha, and other activists, including Christian minister Nguyen Trung Ton, were arrested in July by Vietnamese authorities.
The Christian activists were charged with violating article 79 of the penal code: "carrying out activities with the purpose of overthrowing the Peoples’ administration.” No evidence was presented.
Officials within the Investigative Security Agency of the Ministry of Public Security have labeled Dai an ‘instigator.’ If he is found guilty of these crimes, he could face 20 years in prison and possible execution.
Reports have been surfacing that communist officials tortured Dai in an attempt to gather information regarding his associates and his activities as a blogger and speaker.
Dai’s wife, Vu Minh Khanh, had been denied lawful monthly visits during his previous incarceration from 2007 to 2015. She has been his biggest advocate, championing his release internationally.
Dai founded the Committee for Human Rights in Vietnam in 2006, courageously championing human rights in the brutal communist regime. In 2013, he founded "Brotherhood for Democracy” with a group of other dissidents to bring change to the nation.
During his eight-year incarceration, he was regularly harassed and beaten by state officials.
The German Association of Judges recently honored Dai with a human rights award, though Khanh was prevented by the Vietnamese government from traveling to Germany to accept it on her husband’s behalf.
These arrests are part of a targeted crackdown on dissenting voices in Vietnam. On June 29, Catholic blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, known as "Mother Mushroom" online, was arrested and sentenced to ten years incarceration for “spreading anti-state propaganda.”