Torture Survivors' Stories
Writer Tran Khai Thanh Thuy
At Detention Center No. 1 (Hoa Lo) in Hanoi, dissident writer Tran Khai Thanh Thuy came close to death when she was deprived of medication she must take every day for diabetes and tuberculosis.
“In Hoa Lo, they took my medicine away. I was without my medicine for diabetes and TB for one month and four days, from October 8 until December 2009. They were fully aware of the consequences. For my diabetes I must take two pills in the morning and two in the evening. If no medicine, it can kill you. Without my medicine, I was totally exhausted. They came to my cell eight times to provide ‘ER’[critical care]—that means they gave me two paracetamol.
“It was very dangerous. I was sweating profusely, my lips turned black, my arms and legs were very heavy. I felt I could die at any time. My blood pressure jumped up, and it was impossible to control my bladder. Without my medicine I had no control over urination. I had to go to the toilet dozens of times a day; sometimes I was going constantly. At times I had to pee into my rice bowl.
“The diabetes affects my nerves. I had strong headaches and it was impossible to sleep. My only resort was to yell throughout the night.”
UPDATE: In June 2011, Tran Khai Thanh Thuy resettled as a refugee to the United States, where she continues to write.
--Interview conducted by the Campaign to Abolish Torture in Vietnam.