Vietnam court upholds jail terms for bloggers

By Viet Dung   September 23, 2016 | 09:09 am GMT+7
Vietnam court upholds jail terms for bloggers
Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Huu Vinh (R) and his assistant Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy stand at dock during their appeal trial in Hanoi, Vietnam September 22, 2016. Photo by VnExpress

The two bloggers were convicted in March and sentenced to jail for anti-state writings.

An appeals court in Hanoi on Thursday upheld jail terms for a Vietnamese blogger and his assistant, concluding that they had hurt the state’s interests with their posts.

Blogger Nguyen Huu Vinh was previously charged for “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the state” and was sentenced to five years in prison in March this year. His assistant, Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy, was given a three-year sentence.

They appealed the sentences.

During the 10-hour hearing on Thursday, Vinh said he was innocent. The two bloggers asked to be released immediately.

The court, however, rejected their appeal and upheld the original ruling.

Vinh, better known by his pen name Anh Ba Sam, established a blog, titled “Ba Sam” in 2009. He reportedly posted his own comments as well as links to other articles on political, social and economic topics.

In 2013 and 2014, Vinh set up two similar sites, according to the Voice of Vietnam news site.

The blogger then assigned Thuy as the administrator of the two sites.

In September 2014, the Ministry of Information and Communications said that Vinh and Thuy had posted a total of 24 articles which the government found were based on untrue and groundless content and meant to distort the policies of the Communist Party of Vietnam and the State.

The ministry also blamed the bloggers for providing pessimistic and one-sided points of view, which might lead to worries among the public and affect the people’s trust in the leadership of the ruling party, the government and the National Assembly.

Vinh was once a policeman and private investigator. He is the son of a late cabinet minister and former ambassador to the Soviet Union.

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