Ex-po­lice­man ac­cused of anti-state posts

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

A court in Hanoi has sen­tenced a prom­i­nent Viet­namese blog­ger to five years in prison for post­ing anti-state writ­ings.

The ver­dict came in a one-day trial, held yes­ter­day, high­light­ing the com­mu­nist coun­try’s tough ap­proach to dis­sent.

Nguyen Huu Vinh, a for­mer Viet­nam po­lice of­fi­cer and son of a late govern­ment min­is­ter, was con­victed on a charge of abus­ing demo­cratic free­doms to in­fringe on the in­ter­ests of the state.

Vinh’s as­sis­tant Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy was given three years in prison on the same charge. The two had been in prison since their ar­rests in May 2014.

Their blogs pro­vided links to news on political, so­cial, eco­nomic and cul­tural is­sues from state me­dia as well as ac­tivists.

Pros­e­cu­tors said the two blogs posted 2,397 ar­ti­cles and gen­er­ated more than 3.7 mil­lion hits, and that 24 of the ar­ti­cles had “un­truth­ful and ground­less con­tents which tar­nish the coun­try’s im­age”.

Pre­sid­ing Judge Nguyen Van Pho said that the ar­ti­cles “dis­tort the lines and poli­cies of the party and law of the state, vil­ify in­di­vid­u­als”.

He said the writ­ings “present a one-sided and pes­simistic view, caus­ing anx­i­ety and worry, and af­fect­ing the peo­ple’s con­fi­dence.”

Thuy told the court that she did not know who au­thored the writ­ings or who posted them.

Scores of Vinh’s sup­port­ers gath­ered out­side the court in the Viet­names cap­i­tal chant­ing “in­no­cent”.

In­ter­na­tional hu­man rights groups and Western gov­ern­ments in­clud­ing the US have crit­i­cised Viet­nam for jail­ing dis­si­dents. Hanoi de­nies that, say­ing only those who break the law are put be­hind bars.

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