Ex-policeman accused of anti-state posts
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.