Vietnamese Blogger, Truong Duy Nhat, Arrested For Anti-State Views And Dissent

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Robert Herriman
The Global Dispatch

Vietnamese police have detained a former journalist who ran a blog containing “anti-state” views, authorities said on Monday, part of a widening crackdown on dissent in the Communist-run country, according to a Voices of America report.

Truong Duy Nhat, 49, was detained Sunday at his home in the coastal city of Danang and escorted to Vietnam’s capital Hanoi for questioning, the state-run Tuoi Tre newspaper said.

Nhat was arrested on a charge of “abusing democratic freedoms in order to infringe upon the interests of the state, the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and/or citizens” under article 258 of the criminal code.

If convicted, he faces up to seven years in jail.

The ministry said Nhat violated a clause of the penal code on abusing democratic freedoms with acts against the state. It did not elaborate on his actions.

He quit his journalist job in 2010 in the official Vietnamese press and ran a blog titled “Truong Duy Nhat – a different viewpoint”, where he criticized the government including Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

The blog has been inaccessible since his arrest.

The organization, Reporters without Borders, is calling upon the release of Nhat. “Nhat’s arrest is particularly disturbing as it shows that the government is bent on persecuting and jailing all dissidents, despite the many calls for the release of five bloggers when their appeals were heard last week,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We call for Nhat’s immediate and unconditional release and an end to this unjustified persecution.”

A total of 33 bloggers and netizens are currently detained in Vietnam. On 23 May, an appeal court upheld sentences ranging from four to 13 years in prison for five bloggers – Ho Duc Hoa, Paulus Le Van Son, Nguyen Van Duyet, Thai Van Dung and Tran Minh Nhat, the organization reports.

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