Vietnam Sentences Journalist to 9 Years for ‘Spreading Anti-state Propaganda’

Vietnam on Tuesday sentenced a journalist to nine years in prison for “spreading anti-state propaganda.”

Pham Doan Trang regularly published information alleging human rights violations and police brutality. She was arrested in October 2020.

Her lawyer, Nguyen Van Mieng, said the sentence was “close to the maximum” for such alleged crimes. Mieng said they would discuss an appeal.

The judge in the case, Chu Phuong Ngoc, called Trang’s actions “dangerous for society,” adding that she should be “severely punished.

In a statement, the U.S. State Department said Trang “did nothing more than peacefully express her opinions,” and it called for her release.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, called the sentence a “searing indictment of everything that is wrong with authoritarian Vietnam today.”

"In a democratic society, Trang's prolific ideas and writings would be admired and extolled rather than criminalized,” he added.

This is not Trang’s first brush with Vietnamese authorities.

In 2016, she was asked by former President Barack Obama to participate in a forum for activists, but Vietnamese authorities prevented her from attending. In 2018, she was detained after she met with a delegation from the European Union to discuss human rights.

Source: Voice of America