Viet Nam: Human rights activists jailed for social media posts must be released

Ahead of tomorrow’s appeal hearing for three Vietnamese human rights defenders – Vu Quang Thuan, Nguyen Van Dien and Tran Hoang Phuc – who were sentenced to up to eight years in prison in January on charges of “anti-state propaganda” in relation to posts they made on social media, Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Global Operations Minar Pimple said:
“Vu Quang Thuan, Nguyen Van Dien and Tran Hoang Phuc are victims of the Vietnamese government’s shameful crackdown on all forms of dissent. They have been targeted purely for their peaceful activism.
“These three men have committed no crime; they have merely used social media to express opinions that the authorities do not like – namely by supporting the protection of human rights and social justice in the country.  
“Viet Nam’s long-running use of repressive laws to prosecute and punish peaceful activists must end. As a start, Hanoi’s High Court must tomorrow quash all charges against these men and release them.”
Vu Quang Thuan, Nguyen Van Dien and Tran Hoang Phuc were convicted in a one-day trial at Hanoi People’s Court on 31 January 2018.
Vu Quang Thuan and Nguyen Van Dien were found guilty of conducting anti-state activities after producing and disseminating 17 video clips which were said to defame the ruling Communist party and its leaders.
Tran Hoang Phuc was convicted for assisting the two activists in the creation and online posting of three of the videos.
Vu Quang Thuan was sentenced to eight years and six months in prison, Nguyen Van Dien to six years and six months in prison and Tran Hoang Phuc to six years.
Viet Nam is one of Southeast Asia’s most prolific jailers of peaceful activists, according to a list of prisoners of conscience released by Amnesty International this April.