Three jailed in HCMC for opposing government

By Duong Trang   January 5, 2021 | 01:49 am PT
Three jailed in HCMC for opposing government
Pham Chi Dung (R), Nguyen Tuong Thuy (L, front) and Le Huu Minh Tuan stand trial in HCMC for anti-government propaganda, January 5, 2020. Photo courtesy of HCMC Press Center.
A court in HCMC on Tuesday sentenced three men to 11-15 years in jail for acting against the Vietnamese government.

Pham Chi Dung, 55, was handed a 15-year jail term while accomplices Nguyen Tuong Thuy, 71, and Le Huu Minh Tuan, 32, were both sentenced to 11 years in prison.

They were charged with "making, storing, spreading information, materials, items for the purpose of opposing the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam." Under Vietnam's Penal Code, anti-government propaganda can be punished by up to 20 years in jail.

The three will be put under house arrest for three years after completing their sentences.

Judges said the defendants, after having regular contact with politically-dissatisfied groups, had posted many articles distorting the policies of both Party and State.

Their actions "endanger society, oppose the State and disrupt social solidarity," the court ruled.

According to the indictment, in 2014, Dung, Thuy and 39 others established the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam to "fight and change the current political institutions of Vietnam."

Dung also set up a website and blog containing supposed anti-state content, enticing others to join the cause and calling for funding.

Tuan was charged with administering all technical aspects.

Investigators said Dung posted 1,530 articles in all, Thuy 245 articles and Tuan 534. Dozens of them had content that defamed the people's administration and infringed on the reputation of the Communist Party of Vietnam to oppose the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the indictment said.

In addition, Dung was accused of writing for and corresponding with foreign news media with the aim of "fighting the political regime in Vietnam," the indictment stated.

From August 2014 to the middle of 2018, Tuan was paid royalties by Dung totaling more than VND400 million ($17,302) and transferred more than VND1 billion to other members. Thuy was paid more than VND180 million.

Dung, a former member of Ho Chi Minh City's Party unit, was placed under similar investigation in 2012. He was arrested in November 2019 while Thuy and Tuan were detained in May and June this year.

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