One More Vietnamese Facebooker Arrested and Charged with “Conducting Anti-state Propaganda” As Ruling Communist Party Prepares Its 13th National Congress

Freelance journalist Tran Thi Tuyet Dieu

Defend the Defenders, August 23, 2020


Vietnam’s communist regime continues its crackdown on the local dissent prior to the 13th National Congress of the ruling party, arresting freelance journalist Tran Thi Tuyet Dieu and on allegation of “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 117 of the Criminal Code.

According to the state-controlled media, the police in the central province of Phu Yen carried out the arrest on August 21. They also conducted a search of the house of Ms. Dieu’s parents in Tay Hoa district where she lives with them. She will be held incommunicado for at least four months during the investigation period, the common practice Vietnam’s security forces have been applying in most of political cases.

Ms. Dieu graduated journalism from the University of Social Sciences and Humanities (Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City). Later, she worked for Phu Yen newspaper, the official voice of the province’s Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV)’s Committee. However, she left the newspaper and focused on criticizing the communist regime’s socio-economic issues such as systemic corruption, widespread environmental pollution, human rights violations, and weak response to China’s violations of the country’s sovereignty in the East Sea (South China Sea).

Phu Yen province’s police have accused her of using Facebook accounts “Tuyết Diệu Babel” and “Trần Thị Tuyết Diệu Journalist” as well as Youtube channel named Tuyết Diệu Trần to disseminate hundreds of articles and videoclips to defame communist leaders, including late President Ho Chi Minh, and distort the party’s policies.

In recent years, she has been harassed many times by the police forces. Once she was kidnapped by police in the central province of Nghe An who tortured her.

Ms. Dieu has been the 12th Facebooker being arrested and charged with “conducting anti-state propaganda” so far this year. She is facing imprisonment of between seven and 12 years or even up to 20 years if she is convicted.

Her arrest was made one week after the US, the EU and the UK urged Hanoi to ensure its actions are consistent with the human rights provisions of Vietnam’s Constitution and its international obligations and commitments and allow all individuals in Vietnam to express their views freely, without fear of retaliation. The call was made after Vietnam convicted eight members of the unregistered group Constitution of “disruption of security” for their participation in peaceful demonstrations and sentenced them to more than 40 years in prison.

Vietnam is holding at least 275 prisoners of conscience, according to Defend the Defenders’ statistics. As many as 50 of them were arrested this year, and 55 of them are held in pre-trial detention.

Since the beginning of this year, Vietnam has convicted 15 activists and sentenced them to 66 years and three months and 26 years of probation.