June 8, 2021
Defend the Defenders, June 2, 2021
Vietnam’s state-controlled media has reported that on June 2, the People’s Court of the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang convicted a local resident named Dang Hoang Minh of “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 117 of the Criminal Code for his posts on Facebook.
Accordingly, Mr. Minh, 28, was sentenced to seven years in prison followed by two years of probation. It is unclear when Mr. Minh was arrested or whether he had legal assistance during the trial or not.
Citing the provincial People’s Procuracy indictment against him, newspapers said Minh had posted several “untrue stories” concerning current and former leaders of Vietnam’s communist regime on his Facebook page from June to December last year. Former Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh, founder of the country’s authoritarian regime, was among the leaders Minh had defamed, the indictment said.
Vietnam’s authoritarian regime likely continues its intensified crackdown on local dissidents, social activists, human rights defenders, and Facebookers. Since the beginning of this year, Vietnam’s security forces have arrested at least 13 activists on the charges of “conducting anti-state propaganda” and “abusing democratic freedom.” So far this year, 14 activists have been convicted of one of the two charges and sentenced to between four and 15 years in prison.
Around 30 activists are held in pre-trial detention. Many of them were arrested in early 2020 and the first-instance hearings against them have not been scheduled.