One More Vietnamese Facebooker Arrested on Allegation of “Conducting Anti-state Propaganda”

Mr. Nguyen Van Lam while being arrested on Nov 6, 2020

Defend the Defenders, November 10, 2020


Vietnam’s communist regime has arrested another Facebooker and accused him of “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 117 of the country’s Criminal Code for his posts on the social network.

According to state-controlled media, police in the central province of Nghe An on November 6 arrested Mr. Nguyen Van Lam for his posts on his Facebook page named “Lâm Thời” with the content considered harmful for the regime.

Newspapers said that the province’s police have launched an investigation after receiving information from the province’s Department of Information and Communication which warned that the content of Facebooker Lâm Thời’s posts are defaming the regime and the local authorities as well as their officials and distort the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV)’s policies.

The police said they found 35 statuses of Facebooker Lâm Thời violating Vietnam’s laws. Of those, 3 are his live streams, 18 were produced by himself while 13 were shared from anti-government pages.

Mr. Lam, 50, will be held incommunicado for at least four months during the investigation period, and face imprisonment of between seven and 12 years in prison, or even up to 20 years, if is convicted.

Looking in his Facebook, Defend the Defenders found his posts cover a wide range of topics, from systemic corruption and widespread environmental pollutions to human rights abuse and China’s violations of Vietnam’s sovereignty in the East Sea (South China Sea). Lam was summoned to a police station in early December last year where he was requested to stop anti-regime posting, according to some newspapers.

He is among 29 activists and Facebookers who have been arrested so far this year for their peaceful activities as the ruling party is intensifying its crackdown on the local dissent prior to the party’s 13th National Congress slated for January next year. Among them, 14 were charged with “conducting anti-state propaganda” and seven were alleged of “abusing democratic freedom” under Article 331 of the Criminal Code.

Vietnam’s communist regime often uses articles in the National Security provisions of the Criminal Code to silence the local political dissidents and social activists who bravely exercise their basic rights including the right to freedom of expression which are enshrined in the country’s 2013 Constitution and the international treaties in which Vietnam is a signatory party.

Vietnam is among the largest prisons of prisoners of conscience in Southeast Asia. According to Defend the Defenders’ latest statistics, Vietnam’s communist regime is holding 260 prisoners of conscience in hard living conditions.

Vietnam is placed at 175th out of 180 countries in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index of the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF), imprisoning dozens of journalists and bloggers, including prominent activists Pham Doan Trang and Pham Chi Dung.