Blogger anhbasam jailed for five years for anti-State posts
Blogger Nguyen Huu Vinh (anhbasam) and his assistant Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy were imprisoned for five and three years, respectively, on the charge of abusing the rights to democracy and freedom to infringe on the interests of the State and rights and interests of organisations and citizens, during a trial in Hanoi on March 23.
Blogger Nguyen Huu Vinh (L) and assistant Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy (R).
According to the indictment, Vinh, 60, launched the blogs “Dan Quyen” at diendanxahoidansu.wordpress.com, and “Chep Su Viet” at chepsuviet.wordpress.com in September 2013 and January 2014.
He later asked Thuy, 36, to release 24 articles containing untruthful and groundless contents on the websites, which distorted the Party policies and State laws, tarnished personal reputation and affected organisations’ prestige, presenting a one-sided and pessimistic view, causing public anxiety and worry.
Throughout the interrogation and arguments, both defendants denied the charges.
After considering the defendants’ testimony, lawyers’ arguments, the indictment and related evidence and documents, the judge council came to the conclusion that the act of Vinh and Thuy constituted the abuse of the rights to democracy and freedom to infringe on the interests of the State and rights and interests of organisations and citizens as stipulated in Clause 2, Article 258 of the Penal Code.
The council said the act is dangerous to society and should be punished accordingly.
The trial of a prominent Vietnamese blogger accused of anti-government posts has started amid protests in Hanoi.
Nguyen Huu Vinh, a former police officer and son of a late government minister, and his assistant, Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy, are accused of abusing democratic freedoms to infringe on the interests of the state, an offence punishable by up to seven years in prison.
Vinh, 59, and Thuy, 35, went on trial on Wednesday in Vietnam’s capital. They have been in jail since they were arrested in May 2014.Vinh, better known as Anh Ba Sam, was a police officer with the ministry of public security in Hanoi. He quit in 1999 and set up a private investigation firm. His father was a government minister and Vietnam’s ambassador to the former Soviet Union.
In 2007, Vinh set up the Ba Sam blog. He later launched two others — Dan Quyen, or Citizens’ Rights, in 2013, and Chep Su Viet, or Writing Vietnamese History, in early 2014. The blogs provided links to news on political, social, economic and cultural issues from state media as well as activists.
According to state media, the indictment said two dozen articles posted on Dan Quyen and Chep Su Viet had “untruthful and groundless content” and “distort the lines and policies” of the ruling Communist Party. It also said the articles “present a one-sided and pessimistic view, causing anxiety and worry, and affecting the people’s confidence” in the party and government.
The two defendants have denied the charges, saying they “have no relations” with the postings, according to their lawyer, Ha Huy Son.
The trial was originally scheduled for 19 January, but was postponed on the eve of the Communist Party’s congress, which elected Vietnam’s new leaders and charted the country’s course for the next five years.
International human rights groups and some Western governments, including the United States, have criticised Vietnam for jailing dissidents for peacefully expressing their views. Hanoi denies that, saying only those who break the law are put behind bars.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called for the release of both defendants. “The trial and continuing detention of a blogger and his assistant who have already spent almost two years in jail is farcical and a blight on the country’s human rights record,” Amnesty said in a statement.