2014 prison census - Vietnam: Nguyen Huu Vinh (Anh Ba Sam), Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy
|Publisher||Committee to Protect Journalists|
|Publication Date||17 December 2014|
|Cite as||Committee to Protect Journalists, 2014 prison census - Vietnam: Nguyen Huu Vinh (Anh Ba Sam), Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy, 17 December 2014, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/5498047e9.html [accessed 15 December 2017]|
|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.|
|Nguyen Huu Vinh (Anh Ba Sam), Ba Sam|
|Imprisoned:||May 5, 2014|
|Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy, Ba Sam|
|Imprisoned:||May 5, 2014|
Vinh and Thuy were arrested by police at their respective homes in the capital, Hanoi. They were both charged with "abusing democratic freedoms to impinge on the interests of the state," an anti-state offense under Article 258 of the penal code.
According to a police statement on the charges cited in press reports, the two were accused of "posting false information about the state on the Internet," including articles "that had the potential to tarnish the state apparatus' prestige" on the Ba Sam (Talking Nonsense) blog that Vinh created in September 2007.
Ba Sam often posted links to state-run Vietnamese media, with critical commentary added by the blog's administrators, as well as translated versions of international news on political, economic, and social issues, according to reports. The site also published posts from activists and was considered a rallying point for protests in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City against China's perceived encroachment on Vietnamese territories, news reports said. Vinh and Thuy's arrests came just after China stationed an oil rig in waters claimed by Vietnam in May 2014, setting off a months-long maritime standoff.
It was unclear if Vinh, a former policeman and son of a Communist Party Central Committee member, was still running the blog at the time of his arrest, according to reports. In September 2012, the blogger announced that he would end his direct involvement with the blog due to increased pressure by the authorities, the reports said.
Due to frequent cyberattacks on Ba Sam, the blog has appeared under different Web addresses. Other administrators of the blog, including its U.S.-based editor, Ngoc Thu, were not mentioned in the charges.
Vinh and Thuy were being held in pretrial detention in Hanoi while police conducted investigations. On October 30, 2014, national police said they had gathered enough evidence in 24 blog posts to pursue the anti-state charges, according to news reports. If found guilty under Article 258, they each face a potential seven years in prison.