News / Asia

Vietnam Jails Former State-Media Journalist for Blog Posts

Blogger Truong Duy Nhat (C) stands trial at a local People's Court in the central city of Da Nang, March 4, 2014.
Blogger Truong Duy Nhat (C) stands trial at a local People's Court in the central city of Da Nang, March 4, 2014.
Marianne Brown
A court in Vietnam has convicted a former journalist of violating a controversial new law that provides criminal penalties for "abusing freedoms to infringe upon the state's interests." Activists describe the judgement as an ongoing crackdown on freedom of speech in the country.

Fifty-year-old Truong Duy Nhat was charged with posting articles that “distorted the prestige of the Communist Party.”  He was sentenced to two years in prison following a half-day trial at a court in his native Da Nang city on Tuesday.

Nhat wrote the popular blog Mot góc nhìn khác - Another point of view - which he founded in 2011 after giving up his job as a reporter for a state-run newspaper. He had worked as a journalist for local newspapers since 1987.

Posts on his blog often criticized Vietnam’s leadership and raised concerns about Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea.

His lawyer Tran Vu Hai said Nhat was convicted of “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the state” under Article 258 of the penal code.

Hai said he asked the prosecution to define what the interest of the state was in this case, arguing that under the constitution, there is no mention of the interests of the Communist Party.

The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi said it was "deeply concerned" by the court's sentencing. In a written statement, it called on the Vietnamese government to release Truong Duy Nhat and all prisoners of conscience, and allow all Vietnamese to peacefully express their political views.

Nhat was arrested at his home last May shortly after a posting an article calling for the resignation of the prime minister and chief of the Communist Party.

A group of bloggers and journalists gathered outside the court in Da Nang to show their support.  Among them was one blogger who writes under the name Mẹ Nam which means “Mother Mushroom” in Vietnamese.

She said many policemen surrounded the court and no one was allowed to enter except Nhat’s wife and children.

New York-based Human Rights Watch calls Article 258 a “vague provision” that has “routinely been used to imprison people for peaceful criticism of official policies and practices.”

Last month, the United Nations Human Rights Council held a review of Vietnam’s human rights record, during which several U.N. member states called for the country to stop using Article 258 to prosecute people for expressing peaceful views.

Human Rights Watch Deputy Asia Director Phil Robertson expressed doubt the Vietnamese government would heed those calls. "The Vietnamese government doesn’t want to give any ground on any of these sort of national security pieces of legislation because this is their catch-all for sending people that they don’t like into prison," he stated.

In November, Vietnam was voted in as a new member of the United Nations Human Rights Council - the U.N.’s highest monitoring body. China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and Algeria were also awarded seats.

Robertson said Nhat’s conviction shows Vietnam is not going to change its treatment of dissidents. "What you’re getting is a Vietnam government that’s bragging that it’s got the most votes for the Human Rights Council and taking that as a signal that they can go ahead and expand their abuse of human rights with impunity," 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 says it only jails people who break the law, and that there are no political prisoners in the country.

Blogger Me Nam said the sentence was a warning for others who use blogs and Facebook not to speak out against the government.

You May Like

Kurdish Party Pushes Political Gamble to Run in Turkey Poll

HDP announces it will run as political party instead of fielding independent candidates in June election, but faces tough 10 percent threshold More

Twitter Targets Islamic State

New research shows suspending Twitter accounts of Islamic State, its supporters has been effective; group, its backers are facing 'significant pressure,' says terrorism expert More

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

Majur Juac made the leap from being a refugee in Africa to a master chess champion in US, where he shares his expertise with students 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.
NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Spacei
X
Rosanne Skirble
January 27, 2015 5:05 PM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.
Video

Video Weekly Protests in Korea Keep Japanese WWII Atrocities Alive

Every week in Seoul protesters gather in front of the Japanese Embassy to demand an apology and reparations from Tokyo for the thousands of South Korean women who were forced into prostitution during World War II. Although this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, these protestors have helped keep the issue of comfort women alive and made it difficult for Japan to move beyond its past wartime atrocities. VOA's Brian Padden reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Exercise: New Prescription for Parkinsons Disease

Exercise could be the new prescription for Parkinson's Disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. More than six million people worldwide suffer from Parkinsons and they're traditionally treated with medication and surgery. Shelley Schlender has more.
Video

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Greece’s youngest-ever prime minister, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, was sworn in Monday after his victorious far-left Syriza party entered a coalition with far right rivals. Tsipras says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts. So begins a new chapter for the country at the epicenter of Europe’s economic crisis - a change that has sent tremors across the continent, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Oil Price Drop Troubles Texas Producers

As oil prices have fallen over the past several months, drilling operations have slowed in some parts of the United States - including Texas, the state that surpasses all others in energy production. The Lone Star State’s energy output has been boosted in recent years by development of resources trapped deep below ground in the Eagle Ford shale deposit, which stretches across south central Texas. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Karnes City, Texas, the drop in oil prices has created concerns,
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid