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Vietnam: Drop all charges against author and journalist, Pham Doan Trang

Friday 9 October 2020 - 11:00am

PEN International

Pham Doan Trang

Update - 30 October 2021

Pham Doan Trang's trial, which was due to commence on 4 November, has been postponed until further notice. The stated reason behind the decision is due to the prosecutor having to self-isolate after a potential close-contact with someone thought to have COVID-19.



RAN 11/20

PEN International calls for the immediate and unconditional release of renowned author, journalist and activist Pham Doan Trang, and the quashing of all charges against her. Trang was arrested by the Vietnamese police in Ho Chi Minh City on 6 October 2020 on anti-state charges, facing a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail.

On 6 October 2020, Trang’s apartment in Ho Chi Minh city was raided as part of a joint operation by Hanoi Police and officials from the Ministry of Public Security. During the raid, Trang was arrested and detained without access to her family or legal representatives. Her arrest took place just hours after the 2020 U.S.-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue concluded.

Trang was charged under Art. 117 of the Vietnamese Penal Code, which accuses her of “Making, storing, spreading information, materials, items for the purpose of opposing the State of Socialist Republic of Vietnam”. Trang’s arrest coincides with a widespread crackdown on bloggers and activists in advance of the Vietnamese Communist Party’s upcoming National Congress, due to take place in January 2021.

In May 2019, Pham Doan Trang drafted a letter to be circulated in the eventuality she was ever jailed. The letter can be found here.

TAKE ACTION! Share on Facebook, Twitter and other social media

Please send appeals to the authorities of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam:

  • Calling for Pham Doan Trang’s immediate release from detainment by Vietnamese authorities;
  • To drop all charges made against her under the Vietnamese Penal Code;
  • Provide Trang with immediate and unimpeded access to her family and legal representative; and
  • End the crackdown on bloggers, writers and free speech activists in Vietnam

Send appeals to:

General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam and President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

His Excellency Nguyen Phu Trong

Address: Hung Vuong street, Ba Dinh district, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Prime Minister

Mr Nguyen Xuan Phuc

Address: 1 Hoang Hoa Tham street, Ba Dinh district, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Fax: +84 80 44130/ +84 80 44940

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr Pham Binh Minh

Address: Ton That Dam street, Ba Dinh district, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Fax: +844 3823 1872


Send copies to the Embassy of Vietnam in your country:

** Please send appeals immediately. Check with PEN International if sending appeals after 31 October 2020 **


PEN members are encouraged to:

  • Publish articles and opinion pieces in your national or local press highlighting the case of Pham Doan Trang and freedom of expression in Vietnam;
  • Share information about Pham Doan Trang and your campaigning activities via social media calling for the quashing of her sentence and immediate, unconditional release.

** Please keep PEN International informed of any action you take in regard to Pham Doan Trang’s case, including any responses you receive from the authorities **


For previous actions by PEN International on Vietnam, click here.

Pham Doan Trang is an author, journalist, and democracy activist. Her works include Chính trị bình dân (Popular Politics), Cẩm nang nuôi tù (Handbook on Supporting Prisoners), Phản kháng phi bạo lực (Non-Violent Opposition), and numerous other works. In 2019 Pham Doan Trang was awarded the Reporters without Borders Prize for Impact at the annual Press Freedom Awards. In 2017, Trang was awarded the Homo Homini Award in recognition of her work to promote human rights and democracy.

Trang has sought to use her online presence, through her blog and social media, to overcome state censorship of traditional media and to raise awareness of human rights issues in Vietnam. More recently, she used her online platform to highlight a report that she co-wrote which sought to provide greater transparency on the circumstances surrounding the controversial land dispute in the Dong Tam village, which resulted in the deaths of three policemen and the trial of 29 local villagers.

For further information please contact Ross Holder, Asia Programme Coordinator at PEN International, Unit A, Koops Mill, 162-164 Abbey Street, London, SE1 2AN, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, email: