Amnesty International, 11 December 2015, Index number: ASA 41/3052/2015


Prisoner of conscience Tran Thi Thuy, currently serving an eight year sentence in Viet Nam, is being denied medical treatment for a tumour on her uterus in circumstances that could amount to torture. Although diagnosed by a prison doctor and despite being in severe pain, she has been told she will receive no treatment unless she “confesses” to the crimes for which she was convicted.

Tran Thi Thuy first became ill around April 2015 while detained in a facility at Long Khánh town in Ðồng Nai Province. A prison doctor diagnosed a tumour on her uterus, but she was not provided with treatment. A prison officer told her to admit her crimes or “die in prison”. She has difficulty walking, needing a crutch or help. Her family have provided her with traditional medicine. She also has high blood pressure for which she takes medication. Tran Thi Thuy is in severe physical pain and has told her family that she has felt on the verge of death at several points in recent months. The denial of medical treatment in these circumstances could amount to torture and therefore a violation of the Convention against Torture, which came into force in Viet Nam in February after ratification last year.

Tran Thi Thuy is a trader, Hoa Hao Buddhist and land rights activist. She was arrested in August 2010 and tried with six other land rights activists by BếnTre Provincial People’s Court on 30 May 2011. She was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment under Article 79 of the Penal Code for “activities aimed at overthrowing” the state, and five years’ house arrest on release. According to the indictment, all the activists accused of having joined or been associated with Viet Tan, an overseas-based group peacefully campaigning for democracy in Viet Nam. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has stated that the detention of the seven activists including Tran Thi Thuy is arbitrary and should be remedied by their release and compensation.

Tran Thi Thuy is currently detained in An Phýớc Detention Centre, Bình Dýõng province, which is approximately 900 km from where her family lives; it takes them three days to get there.