HANOI (Reuters) - A court in Vietnam on Tuesday sentenced a man to eight years in prison after finding him guilty of uploading anti-state posts on his Facebook account, the security ministry said.
Despite sweeping economic reform and increasing openness to social change, Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party retains tight media censorship and tolerates little criticism.
Nguyen Quoc Duc Vuong, 29, was charged with “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.
Vuong was accused of livestreaming 110 hours of videos and writing 366 posts on his Facebook account to smear the image of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam’s founding leader, and spread anti-state propaganda, the ministry said.
Reuters could not reach Vuong’s lawyer for comment.
Phil Robertson, Deputy Asia Director at Human Rights Watch, said Vuong’s sentencing was “outrageous and unacceptable”.
“Vietnam must recognise that expressing political views contrary to Communist Party line should not be a crime,” he said in an email statement.
The court will also place Vuong under three years of house arrest after serving his jail term, the ministry said.
Arrests of political activists in Vietnam have steadily increased since late last year as Vietnam gears up for a key Party congress in January 2021.
Reporting by James Pearson; Editing by Ed Davies
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