Can Tho University Lecturer Convicted of “Abusing Democratic Freedom” for Online Posting

Convicted activist Pham Xuan Hao


Defend the Defenders, October 30, 2019


On October 30, the People’s Court of Ninh Kieu district in the Mekong Delta’s hub Can Tho City convicted university lecturer Pham Xuan Hao of “abusing democratic freedom” under Article 331 of the country’s Criminal Code, state media has reported.

Accordingly, the court sentenced Mr. Hao to one year in prison for his postings on his Facebook page. He was said to post and share many articles which distorted the communist regime’s policies and defamed the country’s leadership. It is unclear when he was arrested.

Mr. Hao, 54, is a lecturer of Can Tho University. He graduated architecture and obtained a master’s degree.

He is among a number of Facebookers in Ninh Kieu district being convicted of “abusing democratic freedom” in recent years. In June this year, Quach Nguyen Anh Khoa was sentenced to six months in prison and in September last year, Doan Khanh Vinh Quang was given 27 months in jail for the same allegation.

Prisoner of conscience Doan Khanh Vinh Quang

Vietnam’s communist regime is using controversial allegations “abusing democratic freedom” and “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 117 of the country’s Criminal Code to silence online dissent. As many as nine activists are being imprisoned between six months and seven years for the first charge and 37 activists are held for the second charge, 30 of them were sentenced to between two and 14 years in jail.

Prisoner of conscience Quach Nguyen Anh Khoa

Currently, Vietnam is holding 236 prisoners of conscience, according to the latest statistics of Defend the Defenders.