Facebooker Pham Van Diep Sentenced to Nine Years, Four Citizens Jailed Totally 11 Years for Intention to Participate in Peaceful Demonstration

Mr. Pham Van Diep in his trial on November 26, 2019


Defend the Defenders, November 26, 2019


On November 26, Vietnam’s communist regime convicted five political dissidents and sentenced them to a total 20 years in prison and five years of probation in two separate trials which failed to meet international standards for a fair trial.

In the central province of Thanh Hoa, the provincial People’s Court found local Facebooker Pham Van Diep guilty of “Making, storing, spreading information, materials, items for the purpose of opposing the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” under the country’s 2015 Criminal Code. The court sentenced him to nine years in jail and five years of probation for online postings which were considered as “distortion of the communist regime” and “defamation of communist leaders” which led to social dissatisfaction.

Mr. Diep, 54, was arrested on June 29 this year. He has voiced against the communist regime for its socio-political policies and human rights abuse in the last 17 years.

Meanwhile, the People’s Court of Dong Nai convicted Vo Hoang Trung, Doan Viet Hoan, Ngo Xuan Thanh and Nguyen Dinh Khue of “disruption of security” under Article 118 of the Criminal Code. The first two were sentenced to three years in prison and the remaining two were given 30 months in jail.

The four convicted were arrested on April 25, 2019 for their intention to participate in a peaceful demonstration scheduled on April 30 to mark the 34th anniversary of the fall of the US-backed Saigon regime to the communist side in Northern Vietnam.

Six days before the trial against Mr. Pham Van Diep, Human Rights Watch issued a press release calling on Vietnam’s communist regime to drop all charges against him and release him immediately and unconditionally. “All Pham Van Diep has done in the last 17 years is voice his opinions about important social and political issues and protest his persecution for speaking out,” said John Sifton, HRW Asia Advocacy director. “There is no good reason for Vietnam to treat him as a criminal,” he added.

In order to silence the local political dissidents, social activists, human rights defenders and Facebookers amid growing social dissatisfaction, Vietnam’s communist regime has intensified crackdown on them, arresting at least 33 activists since beginning of 2019 and charging them mostly with controversial articles in the National Security provisions of the Criminal Code such as subversion, “conducting anti-state propaganda” or “disruption of security.”

So far this year, the regime has convicted 36 activists and sentenced to a total 179.5 years in jail and 45 years of probation, raising the number of prisoners of conscience to at least 240, according to Defend the Defenders’ latest statistics.