Vietnamese-Australian democracy activist ′detained′ in Vietnam | News | DW | 25.01.2019
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Vietnamese-Australian democracy activist 'detained' in Vietnam

A pro-democracy opposition group says a prominent member of the Vietnamese community in Australia has been detained incommunicado in Vietnam. Another Vietnamese activist is also believed to have been detained.

A Vietnamese-Australian pro-democracy activist has allegedly been detained in Vietnam, the exiled opposition group Viet Tan said Friday.

An Australian citizen, Chau Van Kham was detained on January 13 while on a "fact-finding" mission to assess the human rights situation in Vietnam, Viet Tan spokesman in Australia Phong Nguyen said in a statement.

Read more: Is Vietnam sliding deeper into authoritarianism? 

"Mr. Kham has been detained incommunicado for almost two weeks and without Australian consular access," Viet Tan said, adding that the group and Kham's family were in contact with the Australian foreign ministry.

Kham is well-known in Australia's Vietnamese community as "a long time democracy activist, working with civil society on the ground in Vietnam as well as campaigning for human rights with elected officials in Canberra," Viet Tan said.

Viet Tan is a self-described pro-democracy opposition group advocating for human rights. It is considered a terrorist organization by Vietnam, although it is peaceful and has a presence in several countries.

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Also believed to be detained is Vietnamese national Nguyen Van Vien, a member of the Brotherhood for Democracy whom Kham was meeting.

There was no comment from the Vietnamese government.

Vietnam is a one-party communist state that bans political dissent.

Last year, at least 42 people were convicted for expressing critical political views, peacefully protesting or being members of pro-democracy groups, according to Human Rights Watch.

cw/rc (AFP, dpa)

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