World News

Vietnam jails Facebook user for 10 years for anti-state posts

HANOI (Reuters) - A court in Vietnam on Tuesday sentenced a Facebook user to 10 years in prison after finding him guilty of spreading “anti-state propaganda” on social media, police said.

Vu Tien Chi, 55, was convicted of “making, storing, spreading information, materials, items for the purpose of opposing the state” at a one-day trial in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, the Ministry of Public Security said in a news release.

Despite sweeping economic reform and increasing openness to social change, Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party retains tight media censorship and tolerates little criticism.

Chi was accused of sharing 338 articles and 181 videos on his social media to “distort and defame the people’s administration, infringe the interests of the Communist Party of Vietnam and state,” the ministry said.

At the time of his arrest in June last year, police said Chi has shared the “anti-state” content across several Facebook accounts.

Vietnam’s communist party has intensified a crackdown on dissent, with a record number of political prisoners, longer jail terms, and increased harassment of activists in recent years.

Separately, three other people were on trial in the central province of Khanh Hoa on Tuesday over similar charges, state media reported.

Nguyen Thi Cam Thuy, Ngo Thi Ha Phuong and Le Viet Hoa were accused of posting anti-state propaganda on their Facebook and YouTube accounts, the Khanh Hoa newspaper reported.

Thuy was also accused of livestreaming her burning the flags of Vietnam and the country’s communist party, the report added. The trial is expected to end on Wednesday.

Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Martin Petty