Brother and Sister Sentenced to 14 Years in Jail for Online Critical Postings

Mr. Huynh Minh Tam and his younger sister Huynh Thi To Nga in their trial on November 28, 2019




Defend the Defenders, November 28, 2019


Vietnam’s communist regime has convicted Mr. Huynh Minh Tam, 41, and his younger sister Huynh Thi To Nga, 36, of “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 117 of the country’s Criminal Code for their online postings critical to the regime, Defend the Defenders has learned.

In the first-instance hearing on November 28, the People’s Court of Dong Nai found Mr. Tam and Ms. Nga guilty of “Making, storing, spreading information, materials, items for the purpose of opposing the State of Socialist Republic of Vietnam,” sentencing him to nine years and giving her to five years in prison.

According to their relatives, both Tam and Nga had no their own lawyers.

The indictment said they were posting numerous articles on their Facebook accounts criticizing the communist government for failing to deal with the country’s problems such as human rights abuse, systemic corruption, widespread environmental pollution, and weak response to China’s violations of the country’s sovereignty in the East Sea (South China Sea).

Ms. Nga, a technician in the Saigon-based Nguyen Tri Phuong Hospital, reportedly to participate in the mass demonstration in Ho Chi Minh City on June 10, 2018 to protest two bills on Special Economic Zones and Cyber Security.

Mr. Tam was arrested on February 28 this year while his younger sister was kidnapped in her working place two days later. Police had not informed their families about the allegations against them and kept them incommunicado until their trial. Police also threatened their families, not allowing their relatives to contact with other activists.

Mr. Tam and Ms. Nga are among 21 activists being arrested this year for online activities, 14 of them were charged with “conducting anti-state propaganda” and five were alleged with “abusing democratic freedom” in the National Security provisions of the Criminal Code.

Vietnam’s communist regime has arrested 33 political dissidents, social activists and Facebookers so far this year, including prominent dissident journalist Pham Chi Dung. Hanoi has also convicted 39 activists, mostly on controversial allegations in the National Security provisions of the Criminal Code, sentencing them to a total 199.5 years in jail and 47 years of probation.

Vietnam is holding at least 240 prisoners of conscience, according to Defend the Defenders’ latest statistics. Hanoi always denies of holding any prisoners of conscience, saying it imprisons only law violators.