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Vietnam Questions Bloggers After Embassy Meetings


Blogger Nguyen Dinh Ha (undated courtesy photo)

Blogger Nguyen Dinh Ha (undated courtesy photo)

Vietnamese police have summoned bloggers for questions and accused them of holding "illegal gatherings" at the U.S. and Swedish embassies in Hanoi.

The bloggers are conducting a campaign of meetings at foreign embassies to lobby against Article 258, which makes it a crime to speak or write in a way that infringes upon Vietnam's state interests.

The bloggers say the law is meant to curb free speech and dissent and they want western governments to pressure Hanoi to repeal the measure.

Police say the gatherings at the embassies are illegal because they did not have permits. No one has been formally detained yet.

Blogger Nguyen Dinh Ha, a participant in the campaign, told VOA's Vietnamese service the questioning shows how severely human rights are violated in Vietnam.

“The reason stated for the summon violates freedom of movement and the basic civil rights of the people in this country. For so long, we’ve been protesting against those regulations banning 'gatherings without permission’ because they violate basic human rights.

Those rules are nonsense and severely violate our rights," he said.
The bloggers stress that their campaign will keep going with more stops at foreign embassies.

The U.S. and other western governments have been critical of Vietnam's human rights record, including its suppression of free speech and dissent.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Vietnamese service.
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