Activists jailed in Vietnam for ‘propaganda’

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HANOI: Two Vietnamese cousins have been convicted for spreading anti-state “propaganda”, state media reported, the latest activists to be jailed in the authoritarian communist country. Nguyen Huu Quoc Duy, 31 and his cousin Nguyen Huu Thien An, 21, were convicted of “propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,” at a closed one-day trial, state-run Vietnam News Agency (VNA) said late Tuesday. Duy was found guilty of sharing “dozens of articles with wrongful viewpoints… distorting the party and state policy” on his Facebook page, VNA reported, citing the verdict from the court in Vietnam’s southern Khanh Hoa province. He was also accused of “requesting the elimination of the Communist Party leadership and state management”, it added. An was convicted of “regularly logging onto reactionary web pages with information defaming the Socialist Republic of Vietnam”, the report said. According to the court, their behavior “was very serious, violating the strength of the communist state, reverting people’s trust towards the party’s leadership”, VNA reported. Duy was handed a three-year sentence, while An was given two years in jail. Their charges fall under the controversial Article 88 of Vietnam’s criminal code, which rights groups say is vaguely worded and routinely used to punish dissent. Earlier in the week, Amnesty International published an open letter demanding Vietnamese authorities to release the cousins “immediately and unconditionally”. Communist Vietnam is regularly criticized for its intolerance of dissent and prosecution of regime critics.

AFP

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