Two people jailed for spreading anti-state misinformation

By Hai Thu   December 15, 2021 | 08:08 pm PT
Two people jailed for spreading anti-state misinformation
Trinh Ba Phuong stands before the Hanoi People's Court, December 15, 2021. Photo by Vietnam News Agency
Two people were jailed Wednesday for spreading misinformation regarding a clash over military land at Hanoi’s Dong Tam Commune in 2020.

Trinh Ba Phuong, 36, and Nguyen Thi Tam, 49, were sentenced to 10 and six years in prison respectively for "making, storing, spreading information, materials, items for the purpose of opposing the State," the Hanoi People’s Court said Wednesday.

Their behaviors have caused "confusion and worry among the people, threatening the integrity of people’s unity," prosecutors said.

In January 2020, Phuong and Tam used their Facebook accounts to post several contents regarding a deadly clash in Dong Tam Commune. The contents were false, fabricated, affected the reputation of authorities and were anti-state, the court heard.

Several comments and shares of those contents also had "negative content and oppose authorities, the Party and the State."

Phuong also possessed the copy of a guidebook on taking care of prisoners that has yet to be registered for publication, according to the Department of Publishing, Printing and Issuing under the Ministry of Information and Communication. The act is deemed as "illegal."

The Dong Tam clash took place in January 2020, after dozens of residents from Hoanh and Dong Mit villages set up a "group of consensus" to re-occupy and divide a land lot in the commune’s Senh field among themselves. The land had been allocated for defense purposes.

Back in November 2019, the Ministry of National Defense prepared a plan to build a fence to protect the Mieu Mon airport that would use part of Dong Tam Commune land. But certain residents opposed to the plan. In the early hours on January 9, when the police arrived at the gate of Hoanh Village, the group used handmade weapons to attack the police force, causing three police officers to fall into a pit, investigation found.

Three policemen were later killed after some people poured gasoline into the pit and set it alight. Law enforcement personnel also shot a man holding a grenade and calling on others to resist. The man later died.

Two people who were part of the group who resisted authorities were sentenced to death for murder. Several others were jailed for the same charge.

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