Vietnam: Abuse of democratic freedoms. 15 months in prison for activist

October 31, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Abuse of democratic freedoms Vietnam, October 30, 2013: Sentence imposed on the 30 year-old Dinh Nhat Uy commuted to house arrest. He is guilty of having used a social network to condemn Chinese imperialism and calling for the release of his brother, who was also in jail. For his release the Redemptorist Fathers held a moment of prayer in the presence of 1,500 Catholics and non-Catholics.

A court in the southern province of Long An has sentenced the 30 year old activist Vietnamese Dinh Nhat Uy to 15 months in prison, later commuted to house arrest. The verdict arrived yesterday, after a trial lasting only one day, on charges of “abusing democratic freedoms” on social networks. The young man is guilty of using  Facebook to call for the release of his older brother – who is serving four years in prison – and for denouncing “China’s imperialist and expansionist” policy in the Asia-Pacific region . Campaigns to support the young man proved to no avail including Masses and prayer services held by Catholic groups for the family.

The Vietnamese communist regime continues to crack down on internal dissent and the initiatives of those who, in the public square or on the web, ask for constitutional reforms, greater rights and religious freedom. And for the first time Hanoi has punished a citizen for a comment posted on a social network, according to a controversial law adopted in early August (the infamous Decree 72), the application of which remains unclear . Vietnam thus confirms its reputation as an “enemy of the Internet” , as pointed out by Reporters Without Borders ( RSF ) .

In Vietnam, the condemned with suspended sentences are then forced into a sort of personal restriction comparable with house arrest, with limits their movement and includes frequent police checks. The defense lawyer claimed the complete innocence his client and called for his immediate release because he is a “victim of an injustice .”

The court sentenced Dinh Nhat Uy in accordance with Article 258 of the Penal Code, which covers crimes committed for ” abusing democratic freedoms , against the interests of the State” . A crime that can lead to seven years in prison . Outside the court a group of supporters chanted slogans and songs, demanding the release of the young man , under the watchful eye of the security forces who controlled their every move.

30 year old Nhat Uy was born in 1983 in the province of Long An . His arrest came on 15 June this year and is linked to the campaign promoted on the internet – Facebook – calling for the release of his brother Nguyen Dinh Kha , who is also in jail and was sentenced May 16 to four years in prison. Ironically, the two brothers were tried and convicted in the same court .

On October 24, the mother of the two Vietnamese activists, Ngueyn Thi Kim Lien , wrote a letter to the Vietnamese people, international agencies present in the Vietnamese territory and human rights organizations to advocate for her children. A few days later, on the 27th, the family – of Buddhist faith – turned to the Redemptorist Fathers of Saigon, who promoted a prayer service which was attended by over 1500 people both Catholics and non Catholics. The prayer intentions included the release of the two young men and the hope that the Vietnamese Parliament would be inspired to write a “new constitution.”

– asianews

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