Dang Xuan Dieu is a former political prisoner from Vietnam. He was arrested for “attempting to overthrow the government” under Article 79 of Vietnam’s Penal Code in July 2011 and sentenced to 13 years in prison in January 2013. He was released and exiled to Paris on January 12, 2017.
Prior to his arrest, Dieu mobilized to provide access to education for the poor, as well as assistance for the disabled and victims of typhoons. As a member of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, he acted as a contributing citizen journalist for Vietnam Redemptorist News. Dieu is also a member of Viet Tan, an unsanctioned pro-democracy party advocating for peaceful change in Vietnam.
In 2013, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) ruled that the arrest and detention of Dieu and his colleagues violated international law and called for their immediate and unconditional release. UNWGAD determined that the Vietnamese government had criminalized peaceful political activity through the application of Article 79.
Dieu was regularly assaulted, beaten, and deprived of adequate drinking water and food while in prison. In April 2014, he launched a 100-day fast to protest his prison conditions.
His mistreatment in prison received widespread international attention. After several advocacy campaigns and strong pressure from EU officials, Dang Xuan Dieu was released and exiled.
He has since said that he hoped to stay in Vietnam and fight for his beliefs there.