PARIS-GENEVA, June 30, 2014 (OBSERVATORY & VCHR). On June 26, the highest jurisdiction in Vietnam upheld a two-year prison sentence against blogger Truong Duy Nhat. The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, an FIDH-OMCT joint programme, together with the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR), denounce the Supreme People’s Court’s decision and call on the Vietnamese Government to release him along with all other human rights defenders currently detained across the country.
On June 26, 2014, the Supreme People’s Court in Danang, Central Vietnam, upheld a two-year prison sentence against prominent blogger Truong Duy Nhat for publishing online articles critical of the Government on his blog “A Different Point of View”. On March 4, 2014, Truong Duy Nhat had been sentenced by a court in Danang to two years’ imprisonment under Article 258(2) of the Criminal Code for “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State”. During the appeal hearing, Truong Duy Nhat was not allowed to defend the content of the 12 online articles that led to his prosecution. The blogger has been detained since his arrest by the Vietnamese police on May 26, 2013.
Truong Duy Nhat is a former journalist with State-run newspapers “Bao Cong An Quang Nam Danang” (Quang Nam Danang Security Police newspaper) and “Dai Doan Ket” (Great Solidarity newspaper). In 2011, he quit his work as a reporter to write for his blog “Mot Goc Nhin Khac” (A Different Point of View), which became widely known for its criticism of the Government. In his blog, Truong Duy Nhat frequently criticized the performance of top Government officials, including the Prime Minister, from the point of view of the rights enshrined in Vietnam’s legislation and the international human rights covenants signed by Vietnam.
Our organisations urge the Vietnamese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Truong Duy Nhat as well as all human rights defenders who are currently serving long prison sentences or awaiting trial in Vietnam, as well as to immediately repeal draconian laws that severely restrict freedom of opinion and expression.
Our organisations reiterate their call on the Vietnamese authorities to ensure in all circumstances that human rights defenders are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals, in line with the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
VCHR: Penelope Faulkner (Vietnamese/French/English): +33 1 45 98 30 85
FIDH: Arthur Manet: + 33 1 43 55 25 18
OMCT: Delphine Reculeau: +41 22 809 49 39