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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs