Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Vietnam jails blogger for three years

A French-Vietnamese blogger, Pham Minh Hoang, has been sentenced to three years in prison for publishing articles that have reportedly "blackened the image of the country".

Speaking during his trial in Ho Chi Minh City, Hoang said he had joined an opposition group but emphasised the fact the he did not intend to overthrow the government.

There has been talk among human rights activists about the increasing numbers of imprisonments of those who dare critique the Vietnamese government. France's Foreign Ministry had earlier voiced "serious concern" about Hoang's case.

Hoang, who was said to have written over 30 articles under the pen name Phan Kien Quoc, asked for leniency, stating that he did not know he was breaking the law.

Addressing the court he said: "My writings were not aimed at overthrowing anyone…I only pointed out the negative things in society, and I think the country needs to be more democratic."

Hoang, who has dual citizenship, received a more lenient jail term of three years due to the aforementioned, and although he confessed to belonging to the banned opposition group Viet Tan, he said he was not acting as an active operative.

Sources: BBC News, AFP, Bloomberg

For more news and expert analysis about Vietnam, please see Vietnam Focus.

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