Ho Van Hai (Ho Hai), Freelance
Imprisoned:November 2, 2016

Police in Ho Chi Minh City's Thu Duc district arrested the blogger Ho Van Hai, popularly known by his pen name, Ho Hai, on November 2, 2016.

A statement on Ho Chi Minh City's website said that Hai was accused of "spreading information and documents on the internet that are against the government of the Social Republic of Vietnam," news reports said. Nguyen Sy Quang, a spokesman for the Ho Chi Minh City police, told reporters that Hai had disseminated "distorted" information that caused the public to lose trust in the government, according to media reports.

Quang said police officials had been monitoring Hai's online activities before his arrest, and that his posts may have violated article 88 of the penal code, which outlaws the dissemination of "propaganda" against the state. The official did not provide details or the subjects of the posts in question. Convictions under the law, frequently leveled at dissidents and journalists, carry maximum sentences of 20 years in prison.

Hai's personal blog and Facebook account were inaccessible on the day of his arrest, reports said. Vietnam Right Now, an independent news website, reported that Hai had recently posted articles about government corruption and an environmental disaster, caused by a steel factory, along the country's central coast that sparked a series of protests against the government's handling of the crisis.

As of late 2016, CPJ had not been able to determine where Hai was jailed.

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