Lawyer Bui Thi Kim Thanh was committed to the Central Psychiatric Hospital in Bien Hoa, Saigon, where she was being held against her will, after being interrogated by the police. According to her family, on November 2, 2006, the police took her to a local psychiatric hospital where two doctors assessed her and found no evidence of a mental illness. The police then took her to Bien Hoa Hospital where she was admitted and remains confined.
Bui Thi Kim Thanh was an outspoken critic of Vietnam's land confiscation policies and an active defender of expropriated farmers and other victims of injustice. She has also represented the Democratic Party of Vietnam and continues to do pro-bono work defending low-income people.
According to reports, she has been given injections of unknown drugs against her will. There is no medical basis for the injections, and it is believed that this treatment constitutes punishment by the authorities for her work on behalf of the unauthorized pro-democracy party.
One of the effects of the drugs is that she is not able to speak. Reportedly, the authorities offered to release her on the condition that she not talk to anyone about her treatment but she refused. As a result, she is not allowed to receive visitors. She has not been charged with an offence.
In February 2007, the Law Society sent letters of intervention in this case to Vietnamese authorities.
Letter of Intervention