Spate of blogger trials to start tomorrow, another blogger held incommunicado
|Publisher||Reporters Without Borders|
|Publication Date||6 October 2009|
|Cite as||Reporters Without Borders, Spate of blogger trials to start tomorrow, another blogger held incommunicado, 6 October 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4acddf39c.html [accessed 8 March 2014]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Reporters Without Borders calls for the acquittal of all the writers, bloggers and pro-democracy activists who are about to be tried in various courts after unexplained delays, with a danger of long jail sentences being imposed. Vu Hung's trial in Hanoi tomorrow and Pham Van Troi's trial the day after are expected to be held without guarantees for defence rights.
Six other activists, who were arrested in September 2008 for various offences including posting criticism of government policies online and criticising China in writings or in protests, will thereafter be tried in Hai Phong. They are Nguyen Xuan Nghia, a writer who is a member of the Bloc 8406 pro-democracy movement, Nguyen Huu Tinh, Nguyen Manh Son, Nguyen Van Tuc, Ngo Quynh and Nguyen Kim Nhan.
They face up to 20 years in prison on charges of "propaganda against the Socialist State of Vietnam" under article 88 if the criminal code. The date of the Hai Phong trials is not yet known but they may take place on 8 and 9 October.
"We urge the judicial authorities to dismiss the charges and release all these defendants without delay," Reporters Without Borders said. "We point out that the bloggers Pham Doan Trang, Bui Thanh Hieu and Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh were released after being arrested for the same reasons as Nguyen Xuan Nghia, Nguyen Huu Tinh, Nguyen Manh Son, Nguyen Van Tuc, Ngo Quynh and Nguyen Kim Nhan. The latter should be shown the same clemency as the sole reason for their arrests was the desire to suppress criticism of Vietnam's relations with China."
Dozens of people went to support Pham Van Troi in Hanoi on the morning of 24 September when his trial was originally to have taken place. His family travelled a great distance to be there. But it was postponed at the last minute, as was the trial of the six dissidents in Hai Phong.
Nguyen Hoang Hai, a blogger better known by the pen-name of "Dieu Cay", has been held in harsh conditions ever since his arrest in April 2008 for protesting against China's territorial claim to sovereignty over the Spratly and Paracel Islands in the South China sea. "We also demand his release on humanitarian grounds," Reporters Without Borders added.
Another cyber-dissident, Nguyen Tien Trung, will tomorrow begin his fourth month in detention in Ho Chi Minh City. Neither his family nor his lawyers have been able to see him since his arrest on 7 July on a charge of violating article 88 of the criminal code.
Finally, Dao Duy Quat, the editor of the ruling Communist Party's official website, has been fined 30 million Dong (1,700 dollars) for posting a Chinese newspaper article on 4 September about Chinese military exercises in the Paracel Islands that quoted a Chinese officer as saying their aim was to "defend the motherland's southern maritime border."
Ministry of Information and Communication inspector general Nguyen Van Hung said Dao Duy Quat had violated a decree banning the publication of unauthorised information.
Vietnam is one of the 12 countries which Reporters Without Borders has identified as Enemies of the Internet. It was ranked 168th out of 173 countries in the 2008 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.