From Human Rights Watch
Six Vietnamese activists and bloggers are facing long prison sentences for their peaceful opposition, Human Rights Watch said today. Vietnam’s government should immediately release the six, who are being prosecuted for peaceful political activities such as forming an association, expressing views on social media, and participating in public assemblies.
Five of them were tried in October 2018, for participating in a pro-democracy group, and sentenced to prison terms between 8 and 15 years. A high court is scheduled to hear the appeal of Luu Van Vinh, Nguyen Van Duc Do, Nguyen Quoc Hoan, Phan Trung and Tu Cong Nghia in Ho Chi Minh City on March 18, 2019. Separately, Le Minh The will go to trial on March 20, for his posts on Facebook, in the Binh Thuy district court in Can Tho.
“Vietnam’s deepening rights crackdown is targeting independent political associations and individual activists who dare to demand that the government respect rights and restore democracy,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “International donors and trade partners should tell Vietnam that continuing this crackdown will cause problems for the aid and trade deals that Hanoi wants to conclude with North America and the European Union.”
As of March, at least 142 people have been convicted on charges stemming from protests in June 2018, over the Vietnam government’s announcement of a draft law on special economic zones and the law on cyber security. Many of them have been sentenced to months or years in prison for disrupting the public order under article 318 of the penal code.
Luu Van Vinh and Nguyen Van Duc Do are human rights activists who participated in earlier pro-environment protests. They and the other three were arrested in November 2016, for their alleged affiliation with the Vietnam National Self-Determination Coalition, an independent political group. Police charged them under article 79 of the 1999 penal code with “carrying out activities that aim to overthrow the people’s administration.”
Read full article at Human Rights Watch