In this Vietnamese name, the family name is Nguyễn. According to Vietnamese custom, this person should properly be referred to by the given name Văn Oai.
Gioan Nguyễn Văn Oai, 32, is a social rights activists from Quynh Luu district, Nghe An province. He is a Protestant, and studied citizen journalism under Vietnam Redemptorist News. Oai was arrested on August 2, 2011, in Ho Chi Minh City, charged under clause 2 of article 79, and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment plus four years of controlled residence. On August 2, 2015 Oai, was released and according to the charges placed, was sentenced to four years house arrest following his release.
On August 2, 2011, the police detained Oai without a warrant with charges of conspiring to overthrow the government under clause 2 of article 79 of the Penal Code of Vietnam. Oai was held incommunicado for months and had limited access to legal representation.
Oai had participated in activities that protect workers’ rights in Binh Duong province, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City, and also joined in on protests in anti-Chinese aggression towards Vietnam.
Oai’s arrest was a part of the 2011 crackdown on Vietnamese youth activists which included 17 other Vietnamese youth activists. These activists participated in peaceful protests related to China, environmental advocacy, and citizen journalism.
On January 9, 2013, a trial was held by the People's Court of Nghệ An Province for 14 democracy activists, including Oai, who was sentenced to 4 years.
Along with the other activists on trial, Oai was also accused of participating in Việt Tân, a US-based pro-democracy organization to establish democracy and reform Vietnam through peaceful and political means. During the trial, a large number of police were deployed around the court, with police detaining a number of other bloggers who attempted to attend the trial.
On August 2, 2015 Oai, was released and according to the charges placed, Oai was sentenced to four years house arrest following his release.
On January 19, 2017 Oai, was re-arrested and charged with "resisting persons on duty", claiming he was not abiding by the terms of his administrative probation.
Amnesty International reported in 2013 that Vietnamese prisoners of conscience “are held in harsh conditions amounting to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”
Dissident prisoners receive rations that are spoiled, littered with garbage and provided only up to 10 litres of water for drinking and washing. Inmates of the Catholic faith are further discriminated against by being denied religious reading materials and prohibited from praying or observing their rights, with no other means of expressing their protests beyond hunger strikes.
On July 25, 2012, Allen Weiner, director of the Stanford Program in International and Comparative Law at Stanford Law School, filed a petition with the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) in Geneva contesting the illegal arrest and on-going detention of seventeen Vietnamese social and political activists. The petition requests the UNWGAD to call upon the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) to release all of the detainees immediately to remedy the human rights violations stemming from their arbitrary arrest and detention.
On November 28, 2013, the UNWGAD had ruled in favor of the petition, stating that Vietnam violated its international human rights obligations and must “immediate[ly] release” the prisoners of conscience.
Following the 2013 trial, Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch, condemned the arrest and calls for the "convictions to be squashed immediately". He states "The conviction of yet more peaceful activists is another example of a government that is increasingly afraid of the opinions of its own people. Instead of imprisoning critics, the Vietnamese government should be honoring them for their efforts to address the myriad problems facing the country that the government itself has also identified.”