Ta Phong Tan
Ta Phong Tan was arrested on September 5, 2011, and was sentenced in October 2012 to ten years in prison for “conducting propaganda against the state” for her postings on her blog and on the banned website Free Journalist Club (Cau Lac Bo Nha Bao Tu Do) which she co-founded. She also received five years of probationary detention (a form of house arrest).
She was held at Trai giam so 5, Thi Tran Thong Nhat, Huyen Yen Dinh, Thanh Hoa, Vietnam. She was released on September 19, 2015 and arrived in the United States the next day. She was granted an early release after completing three years of the ten year sentence.
Ta Phong Tan is a Vietnamese Blogger, jurist, and former police officer. Her articles have been published in many mainstream media outlets in Vietnam, including Tuoi Tre (Youth), Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborer), Vietnam Net, and the Vietnamese Service of the BBC.
Ta began blogging while still a member of the police force, exposing police abuses, corruption, and abuse of power. After her arrest in September 2011, her trial was repeatedly postponed without explanation. When it did take place, the court banned observers and family members from attending, in violation of international standards of fairness. She was tried together with bloggers Nguyen Van Hai and Phan Thanh Hai.
On the morning of July 30, 2012, Ta Phong Tan’s 64-year-old mother, Dang Thi Kim Lieng, set herself on fire outside the Bac Lieu People’s Committee in protest of her daughter’s detention, one week before Tan’s trial was set to begin, and died of her burns en route to the hospital. The death, which occurred following months of harassment from public security officials, was the first reported self-immolation in Vietnam since the 1970s.
Ta is a popular blogger among dissidents in Vietnam. She is a recipient of the 2011 Hellman/Hammett award, and the 2013 US Government “International Women of Courage” honor.