Medical Doctor Nguyen Duy Huong Arrested, Charged with “Conducting Anti-state Propaganda” for Facebook Posting

Medical doctor Nguyen Duy Huong


Defend the Defenders, March 22, 2021


Authorities in Vietnam’s central province of Nghe An, the home town of late communist leader Ho Chi Minh, have arrested local medical doctor Nguyen Duy Huong on the allegation of “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 117 of the country’s Criminal Code.

According to the state-controlled media, police from Nghe An province conducted the arrest on March 22. They also carried out house search and confiscated a cell phone and an Ipad.

Mr. Huong, 34, will be held incommunicado for at least four months in pre-trial detention in Nghi Kim temporary detention center operated by the Nghe An province’s Police Department. He would face imprisonment of between seven and 12 years in prison if is convicted.

Police said the medical doctor has used his Facebook account “Bảo kiếm” to post and share articles with content defaming the communist regime’s leaders and distorting its policies.

He has been the fourth Facebooker being arrested so far this year as Vietnam continues its crackdown on local dissidents, social activists and human rights defenders. In February, Quang Tri province’s police arrested state-run newspaper journalist Phan Bui Bao Thy and his partner Le Anh Dung on the allegation of “abusing democratic freedom” for using Facebook to denounce some province’s leaders of corruption in local projects.

Two weeks ago, authorities in the northern province of Ninh Binh detained local resident Tran Quoc Khanh and charged him with “conducting anti-state propaganda” for his Facebook posts in which he criticized the communist regime in various issues. It is worth noting that Mr. Khanh was arrested a few days after he announced his plan to run as an independent candidate for the country’s highest legislative body National Assembly in the upcoming election scheduled in late May.

The international community and local activists have urged Vietnam’s communist regime to amend its Criminal Code and remove Article 117 and some others in the National Security provisions of the code which have been used by the regime to silent local peaceful critics and human rights defenders.

In recent years, dozens of activists have been convicted of “conducting anti-state propaganda” and sentenced to between five years and 15 years in prison. PhD Pham Chi Dung, president of the unsanctioned professional group Independent Journalist Association of Vietnam was given 15 years in prison and three years of probation while his deputy Nguyen Tuong Thuy and young member Le Huu Minh Tuan were sentenced to 11 years in prison and three years of probation by the People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City in the first instance-hearing in early January this year.

Last year, Hanoi-based democracy campaigner Nguyen Trung Linh was also sentenced to 12 years in prison after being convicted of the same allegation.