In March 2019, Ms. Bui Thi Kim Phuong, a Hoa Hao Buddhist from Vietnam, prepared to board a flight to the United States for a series of meetings on the deteriorating human rights and religious freedom conditions in Vietnam. Ms. Phuong was stopped by Vietnamese security authorities at Tan Son Nhat airport and forced to return home. Her offense: she is married to Nguyen Bac Truyen, a prominent prisoner of conscience and religious freedom advocate.
Nguyen Bac Truyen is a legal expert who leads the Vietnamese Political & Religious Prisoners Friendship Association, which assists prisoners of conscience and their families. On November 17, 2006, Truyen was arrested and sentenced to 3 years and 6 months in prison on charges of “conducting propaganda” against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. He was released on May 2010. On July 30, 2017, he was again detained, arrested, and ultimately sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment on charges of “carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration.” He is currently serving this sentence.