Two of the three reporters were sentenced to eleven years in prison, while the president of the association was sentenced to a record fifteen years behind bars. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) denounces a purely political judgment, the sole motivation of which is to intimidate all Vietnamese citizens who are fighting to have access to reliable and independent information.
The trial was botched in less than four hours … The president of the Association of Independent Two of the three reporters were sentenced to eleven years in prison, while the president of the association was sentenced to a record fifteen years behind bars. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) denounces a purely political judgment, the sole motivation of which is to intimidate all Vietnamese citizens who are fighting to have access to reliable and independent information. of Vietnam (IJAVN), Pham Chi Dung , was sentenced on January 5, to a record 15-year prison sentence by the People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City. The vice-president of the association, Nguyen Tuong Thuy, and its editor-in-chief, Le Huu Minh Tuan , for their part receive a sentence of eleven years in prison each.
They were convicted on the grounds of article 117 of the Penal Code for the catch-all charge of “propaganda against the State”, regularly used to silence any public voice who dares to deviate from the propaganda of the current leadership of the Communist Party – a provision that contradicts Article 25 of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam proclaiming freedom of the press. The indictment also states that the three reporters would have “been in regular contact with opponents of the regime” inside and outside the country.
Deplorable conditions of detention
“The extent of the sentences handed down against the three IJAVN journalists is extremely shocking ,” deplores the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific office, Daniel Bastard. Rendered ahead of the 13th quinquennial congress of the Vietnamese Communist Party, scheduled for the end of the month, this judgment clearly aims to put an end to any form of debate within civil society – a debate which was echoed by members of the Association. independent journalists. Their place is not behind bars. ”
Designated “information hero” by RSF in 2014, himself a former member of the Communist Party, Pham Chi Dung was arrested in November 2019 , at his home in Ho Chi Minh City, in the south of the country.
68-year-old Nguyen Tuong Thuy was arrested at his home in Hanoi on May 23. Two days before his arrest, another member of the association, Pham Chi Thanh , had also been arrested.
In June, it was the turn of their colleague, Le Huu Minh Tuan, to be arrested and detained as well. Representative of the young guard of independent journalists in Vietnam, he covered political life there, with a more specific focus on the democratization efforts carried out by civil society.
The three reporters were detained in appalling conditions and held incommunicado for several months. They were not allowed to meet their lawyer until November 2020.
Vietnam has stagnated for many years in the abyss of the World Press Freedom Index established by RSF and currently occupies 175th place out of 180 countries.
Copyright ©2016, Reporters Without Borders. Used with the permission of Reporters Without Borders(RSF), CS 90247 75083 Paris Cedex 02 https://rsf.org
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