Vietnamese activist to appeal six-year sentence for Facebook posts


A Vietnamese court will hear an appeal on November 07, of a six-year sentence for a Vietnamese environmental activist convicted of criticizing the government on Facebook, Human Rights Watch said.

The police arrested Nguyen Ngoc Anh in August 2018 and charged him with “making, storing, disseminating, or propagandizing information, materials, and products that aim to oppose the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” under article 117 of the country’s penal code.

In June 2019, after a summary trial, a court in Ben Tre province sentenced him to six years in prison, followed by five years on probation. A higher court in Ho Chi Minh City is scheduled to hear the appeal.

“Nguyen Ngoc Anh is among a rapidly increasing group of political dissenters locked up for expressing opinions on Facebook,” said John Sifton, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.

State media described his sharing of “reactionary” material as intended to “badmouth” the state and party and incite people to protest during the independence holiday on September 2.

The imprisonment of Nguyen Ngoc Anh is part of an ongoing crackdown against critics of the party and government.

During the first 10 months of 2019, the Vietnamese authorities convicted at least 20 people and sentenced them to between 6 months and 10 years in prison for criticizing the government, campaigning for religious freedom, advocating basic civil and political rights, or fighting corruption. (Source: HRW)