August 29, 2019
Defend the Defenders, August 29, 2019
Authorities in Vietnam’s Central Highlands province of Dak Nong have convicted local blogger Duong Thi Lanh (Facebooker Ngoc Lan SG) of “Making, storing, spreading information, materials, items for the purpose of opposing the State” under Article 117 of the country’s 2015 Penal Code for her online posts.
During the first-instance hearing on August 23, the People’s Court of Dak Nong province sentenced her to eight years of jail and two years of probation as the judge concluded that she used 13 Facebook accounts to post and share 380 statuses from June 2017 until her detention on January 30, 2019 to defame the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam, its leaders, and its government.
She was also accused of distorting information on social media, triggering peaceful demonstrations about social issues such as corruption, China’s violations of the country’s sovereignty in the East Sea (South China Sea) and Vietnam’s weak responses to China’s expansionism in the resource-rich sea.
According to Dak Nong’s online newspaper, the Dak Nong police arrested the 36-year-old female activist on January 28, 2019 after receiving reports from the province’s Department of Information and Communication about her online posts.
She is among more than 20 activists being arrested in 2019 and one of 13 activists being charged with allegations in the national security provisions of the Penal Code for their online activities since the begining of this year when the controversial Law on Cyber Security became effective.
So far this year, Vietnam’s communist regime has convicted 20 activists and sentenced them to a total 94 years and six months in jail. It is still holding 29 activists in pre-trial detention. Last week, Quang Ngai province’s authorities sentenced blogger Huynh Dac Tuy to six years in jail for his online activities also.
According to Defend the Defenders’ statistics, Vietnam is imprisoning 243 prisoners of conscience as of August 29, 2019.