Jailed Vietnamese activist Hoang Duc Binh is suffering back pain, rashes from poor hygiene and failing eyesight from being in a dark cell in a prison in Quang Nam province, his brother told RFA’s Vietnamese service on Wednesday.
“About two days ago, I received a letter in the mail from Binh telling me that he has his rash again and his back pain has come back and the conditions are getting worse while all medication sent from the family seems not to work,” said his brother Hoang Nguyen.
“In previous meetings or letters, he kept asking us sending him medication from outside because the stuff provided by the prison did not work,” added the brother.
“He got his rash because of the bad hygiene conditions in the prison. His eyes are not good either because he’s been in a dark cell for a long time.”
Hoang Nguyen told RFA in a telephone that Binh had asked to be given a medical checkup and that he planned to visit his brother in coming days.
In July, Binh was transferred without notice to his family from his prison in his home province Nghe An to another facility in Quang Nam province some 500 km (300 miles) away.
Binh, a blogger on environmental issues, had also served as vice president of the independent Viet Labour Movement and is a member of a soccer group that protests China’s territorial claims on the South China Sea.
He was handed a 14-year prison term in February for “abusing democratic freedoms” and “obstructing officials in the performance of their duties” under Articles 257 and 258 of Vietnam’s penal code.
Binh was arrested on May 15, 2017, by police officers who dragged him from his car more than a year after protests over the government’s response to a waste spill the year before by a Taiwan-owned Formosa Plastics Group steel plant.
The spill killed an estimated 115 tons of fish and left fishermen jobless in four coastal provinces.
Reported by RFA's Vietnamese Service. Translated by Viet Ha. Written in English by Paul Eckert.