Vietnamese Blogger Arrested for ‘Anti-State’ Writings


2013-05-27
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vietnam-netizen-laptop-jan-2013.jpg A man reads news on his laptop at a coffee shop in Hanoi, Jan. 15, 2013.
AFP

Authorities in central Vietnam have arrested a well-known blogger for posting articles critical of the communist government, as part of a widening crackdown online dissent in the one-party state.  

Truong Duy Nhat, 49, was taken into custody on Sunday morning as police searched his home in Danang city under an urgent arrest warrant from the Ministry of Public Security, a notice from the agency said Monday.

That afternoon, Nhat was flown with police escort to Hanoi for an investigation, state media reported.

He is accused of “abusing democratic freedoms to encroach upon the interests of the state” under Article 258 of the Penal Code and faces up to seven years in jail if convicted.

His blog, “Another Viewpoint,” has been inaccessible since his detention.

A former journalist at state-run newspapers—including one run by the Danang police force—Nhat had quit his work as a reporter in 2010 to write for the blog, which became widely known for its criticism of the government.

In his posts Nhat had called for the resignation of top officials, including the prime minister. In recent weeks he had conducted an online opinion poll ahead of a first-ever confidence vote on senior officials that the country’s parliament will hold at its upcoming session in June.

The Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), which has decried an “escalating assault” on freedom of expression in Vietnam, said Monday that Nhat’s detention “illustrates an ongoing crackdown on bloggers” in the country.

The group, which on Monday adopted a resolution condemning human rights abuses in Vietnam, said in a report earlier this year that blogs in the country have become prime targets of government repression.

Vietnam has jailed at least 38 netizens and activists amid a crackdown on online dissent that has intensified over the past three years, convicting many of them under vaguely worded national security provisions, according to rights groups.

Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Written in English by Rachel Vandenbrink.

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