Help release Australian human rights advocate Chau Van Kham from the Vietnamese Government

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70-year-old Australian father and community leader Mr Chau Van Kham was sentenced to 12 years in Hanoi prison for alleged “terrorism” against the Vietnamese government. The Vietnamese government has a long standing history of using arbitrary laws to silence and punish political dissent in violation of international law. Now, an Australian citizen is facing a severe penalty for supporting peaceful pro-democracy advocation in the country.

This harsh sentence was imposed after a 10 month long detention, where he was given a limited number of supervised consular visits. With the sentence now delivered, the prison has banned all visits, Australian consulate or otherwise.

His family has not seen or heard from him since the start of his sentence. It has been a long and silent 4 months. With no contact or update on which prison he’s been transported to, the family have no idea whether he is dead or alive.

This has been particularly stressful in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic which has spread across Vietnamese prisons. The authorities have also denied Mr. Chau’s blood pressure medication sent by his sister. Mr. Chau’s pre-existing health conditions and old age will likely mean that he will not survive til the end of his 12 year sentence to see his family again.

We call on the Australian government to intervene immediately to protect the civil and human rights of its Australian citizens. It is the government’s duty to put its foot down when the corruption of other states have impacted its citizens and families grieving for their inequitable loss - particularly, as it is these hard working, fiercely fighting Australian citizens that make up the fair and proud nation that Australia represents.