Vietnam: Imprisonment of blogger and activist condemned

ea5c0fcdbcd6f1979b70c62bb1bd75c6(Paris) The Vietnamese government must immediately end the ongoing repression of peaceful dissent, release all political prisoners, and repeal its draconian legislation, FIDH and its member organization Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR) said today.

The two organizations reiterated their demands in response to today’s decision by a Hanoi court to sentence blogger Nguyen Huu Vinh and his assistant Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy to five and three years in prison respectively for “abusing democratic freedoms to harm the interests of the State” under Article 258 of the Criminal Code.The two had been accused of “publishing online articles with bad contents and misleading information to lower the prestige and create public distrust of government offices, social organizations, and citizens.”

Nguyen Huu Vinh and Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy have been detained since their arrest on 5 May 2014 in Hanoi. Nguyen Huu Vinh, a former police officer and the son of Vietnam’s ambassador to the former Soviet Union, is the founder of the widely-read Basam (‘Gossip’) website. Basam, one of the most popular sources for news and comments about human rights, democracy, and corruption in Vietnam, often featured articles critical of the Vietnamese government’s policies. In 2013 and 2014, hackers repeatedly attacked the website.

Karim Lahidji, FIDH President

The trial of Nguyen Huu Vinh and Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy, originally scheduled for 19 January 2016, was postponed ahead of the Vietnam Communist Party’s (VCP’s) congress, held in Hanoi from 21 to 28 January 2016. Between 31 March and 12 April 2016, Vietnam’s National Assembly will endorse the new leadership nominated by the VCP. Minister of Public Security Tran Dai Quang, who has overseen the ongoing crackdown on bloggers, activists, and human rights defenders, is slated to become the country’s new President.

 

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“Nguyen Huu Vinh and Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy should not have spent a single day in prison for merely exercising their right to freedom of expression. They must be immediately released, along with all other political prisoners in the country.”

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Karim Lahidji, FIDH President

“Today’s verdict is all the more concerning because it could signal a new wave of repression as new party leaders assume control.”

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“Without the repeal of Vietnam’s numerous repressive laws that continue to be used to target government critics, it is extremely likely that the number of political prisoners will rise under a new hardline leadership. It is time for the international community to step up its pressure for genuine legislative and political reforms in Vietnam.”

Vo Van Ai, VCHR President

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Source: https://www.fidh.org/en/region/asia/vietnam/vietnam-imprisonment-of-blogger-and-activist-condemned

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