A Vietnamese court sentenced a freelance blogger and his two accomplices to jail terms between 11 and 15 years after finding them guilty of promoting anti-state propaganda.
A Vietnamese court sentenced a freelance blogger and his two accomplices to jail terms between 11 and 15 years after finding them guilty of promoting anti-state propaganda, local news outlets and authorities reported on Tuesday.
According to Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security, the People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City found the three journalists – namely Pham Chi Dung, Nguyen Tuong Thuy and Le Huu Minh Tuan – guilty of “making, storing, spreading information, materials, [and] items for the purpose of opposing the state.”
“These are especially dangerous activities that if not stopped could hurt national security,” the ministry added.
During the one-day trial, the court found that the three Vietnamese bloggers violated Article 88 of Vietnam’s Criminal Code which prohibits the spreading of propaganda that aims to defame the government.
The three journalists are members of the Independent Journalism Association of Vietnam, which was established by Dung in 2014. The association promoted independent journalism that would not be influenced by the government or other state-run media outlets.
Dung also founded Vietnam Thoi Bao to allegedly incite the country’s people to share and publish distorted information about the regulations of the state and its ruling party, according to the information from the court.
Police accused the organization of seeking reformation and regime change.
Despite intensifying openness to social change of several movements, the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam continued to enforce strict media censorship.
Under the leadership of General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, the party hardly showed leniency to critics of the government.
Dung was sentenced to 15 years in prison, while Thuy and Tuan were sentenced to 11 years in prison as a result of the party’s sweeping crackdown against political dissent.