Responding to the announcement by Radio Free Asia that one of their contributors, Truong Duy Nhat, was reportedly abducted in Bangkok (Thailand), Amnesty’s Senior Director for Global Operations, Minar Pimple, said:
“Truong Duy Nhat’s disappearance is deeply alarming. He is a former prisoner of conscience who was repeatedly targeted by the Vietnamese authorities. We know from several sources that he travelled to Bangkok to claim asylum. No-one has seen or heard from him since 26 January.
“Thai authorities must immediately investigate these multiple reliable reports of abduction from members of the Vietnamese exile community, corroborated by Nhat’s colleagues at Radio Free Asia, who have now raised the alarm. Viet Nam security forces have abducted exiles and refugees from Thailand and elsewhere in the past. Truong Duy Nhat is at a clear risk of torture or other ill-treatment if his abduction is confirmed.
“Vietnamese authorities have been silent over Truong Duy Nhat’s disappearance. They must come forward with any information about his whereabouts and ensure his safety and freedom of movement.”
Truong Duy Nhat, a Vietnamese journalist and commentator, was jailed from 2013 to 2015 on charges of “conducting propaganda against the state.”
Since his release, Truong Duy Nhat pursued his work as an independent journalist. In December 2018, he received reports that he was likely to be re-arrested and noticed a heightened police presence near his house.
In early January 2019, he travelled to Thailand. On 25 January, he submitted an asylum claim at the Bangkok office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). He sent his relatives two photos of himself at the UNHCR gate. He has not been seen or heard from since the following day, 26 January.
According to media reports, Truong Duy Nhat was seized by unidentified men in a shopping centre called Future Park on 26 January. Amnesty has confirmed this with independent confidential sources who requested anonymity for their own security.