News / Asia

Former Vietnamese Official Jailed for Critical Blog Posts

FILE - Blogger Phạm Viết Đào attends a conference on social media in Hanoi.
FILE - Blogger Phạm Viết Đào attends a conference on social media in Hanoi.
Marianne Brown
Phạm Viết Đào, 62, on Wednesday became the latest blogger in Vietnam to receive a jail term for criticizing the government, as Hanoi continues an increasing crackdown against online dissident.
 
After a two-hour trial at the Hanoi People’s Court, Đào was sentenced to 15 months in prison for “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe the interests of the state” under Article 258 of the penal code.
 
His blog posts allegedly “distorted” and “vilified” senior leaders. Đào was a former official for the Ministry of Culture and long-standing member of the Vietnamese Communist Party. He chose to represent himself in court.
 
On the day of his trial many activists expressed their support for the blogger on Facebook. Among them was 23-year-old Trinh Kim Tien, a prominent campaigner against police violence in Vietnam. She posted a photograph of herself with Đào during an anti-China demonstration in 2011.
 
She said Dao wrote on politics and a variety of human rights issues in Vietnam and was very influential. She said he was well known among anti-China protesters because his younger brother was killed during the 1979 border war with China.
 
Anti-China protesters have increasingly used Facebook and blogs to discuss Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea, which overlap with Vietnam’s own claims. The issue is very sensitive for the Vietnamese government, which has strong trade ties with China. Stories on the dispute are censored in official media.
 
Đào was one of three bloggers arrested in mid-2013. Former journalist Truong Duy Nhat was jailed for two years earlier this month and Dinh Nhat Uy was given a 15-month suspended sentence.
 
Phil Robertson, the deputy Asia director for the New York-based rights group Human Rights Watch, said the treatment of the bloggers was like a “processing line.”
 
“They have decided they want to run these people in and they are just lining them up and knocking them down. They are treating these dissidents like bowling pins,” said Robertson.
 
All three men were charged under Article 258, which Human Rights Watch describes as a “vague provision” that has “routinely been used to imprison people for peaceful criticism of official policies and practices.”
 
Robertson said it is a tactic intended to suppress government criticism.
 
“This is all about trying to essentially smash the communication and information of this group of activists who are continuing to press the government on everything related to land, human rights to corruption,” he said.
 
According to Human Rights Watch, Vietnam convicted and jailed 61 dissidents and activists in 2013, compared to about 40 a year earlier. The Vietnamese government claims it only jails people who break the law, and that there are no political prisoners in the country.

You May Like

Ukraine President Appeals for More US Support

Speaking before Congress ahead of meeting with President Obama, Petro Poroshenko urges lawmakers to back Ukraine in its quest for freedom and democracy More

Photogallery Global Audience Watches as Scots Go to the Polls

People were almost equally divided over a vote for independence, watched closely by Britain's allies, investors and restive regions at home and abroad More

China to Invest $20B in India Amid Border Dispute

Border spat between armies of two countries in Himalayas underlines mutual tensions despite growing commercial ties highlighted by Xi Jinping's high-profile visit More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid