Sunday, January 13, 2013

Vietnam Jails Bloggers for Political Reporting

(Bloggers and political activists, right, stand for sentencing in a Vietnamese court a few days ago. Credit: AFP/Vietnam News Agency.)

The Committee to Protect Journalists last week called attention to the continuing grinding down of independent bloggers and reporters in Vietnam, with prosecutions and stiff sentences from the judicial system.

Needless to say, as an independent blogger who frequently displeases the powerful and politicians with access to law enforcement agencies that create legal hassles for me, I stand in strong solidarity with the Vietnamese bloggers and journalists under attack by their government.

From CPJ's account:

At least five independent bloggers were sentenced today to harsh jail terms in Vietnam, according to local and international news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns this move and calls on Vietnamese authorities to reverse the charges on appeal and release the bloggers.

In a two-day trial, a court in the city of Vinh convicted and sentenced the bloggers on charges of participating in "activities aimed at overthrowing the people's administration" and "undermining of national unity" and of participating in "propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam," news reports said . . .  Political activists were also convicted on the same charges and sentenced, the reports said. All of the individuals received between three and 13 years in prison, news reports said.

"These harsh sentences demonstrate the outrageous lengths that Vietnamese authorities are willing to go to suppress independent reporting," said Shawn Crispin, CPJ's Southeast Asia representative. 

Release the bloggers, reporters and political activists currently held in Vietnamese jails!

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