Vietnam: three independent journalists handed down hards sentences (Update)Event
- Viet Nam
- Initial Date
- Jan 5, 2021
- Event Description
On January 5, 2021, the People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City sentenced 3 members of the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam (IJAVN) to a total of 37 years in prison and nine years of probation on charges of “making, storing, spreading information, materials, items for the purpose of opposing the State of Socialist Republic of Vietnam” under Article 117 of the Criminal Code.
Pham Chi Dung, the IJAVN’s President, was sentenced to 15 years in prison and three years of probation; both Vice President Nguyen Tuong Thuy and another young member, Le Huu Minh Tuan, received 11 years in prison and three years of probation each.
This unjust trial does not comply with international standards for fair trials. The defendants were kept incommunicado for many months from their arrest until December 2020 when they were allowed to see their lawyers for the first time. During their less than 6 hours court trial, the judges did not listen to the lawyers’ arguments and the defendants’ testimonies.
The IJAVN is a civil society organization of independent journalists fighting for press freedom in Vietnam. Since its founding in 2014, its members and collaborators have published thousands of articles about the situation of Vietnam, frankly criticizing the communist regime and officials for their blatant violations of their citizens’ rights and serious socio-economic mismanagement.
This is exactly the reason that the Vietnamese communist authorities want to annihilate the IJAVN and suppress its members for many years, and the arrest and conviction of the three leaders reached the highest point.
Pham Chi Dung, Nguyen Tuong Thuy, and Le Huu Minh Tuan were sentenced to extremely heavy sentences for exercising their right to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of association. Those are the basic rights stated in the Vietnamese Constitution and international human rights conventions that the Vietnamese communist government has signed and committed to honor.
Vietnam Human Rights Network, Defend the Defenders, and Human Rights Relief Foundation believe that Pham Chi Dung, Nguyen Tuong Thuy, and Le Huu Minh Tuan have not violated any Vietnamese law, and that their arrests, detentions and convictions are completely unjustified.
Therefore, we ask the communist government of Vietnam
To annul the verdicts, eliminate all accusations, and release immediately and unconditionally the three journalists; To immediately stop the suppression of the IJAVN and other independent journalists and Facebookers, guarantee fundamental freedoms, in particular the rights to freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of the press and access to information; To repeal Article 117 of the National Security provision of the Criminal Code which is used to suppress peaceful dissidents.
We call on independent civil society organizations and individuals as well as the international community to speak up for the freedom of the three recently convicted independent journalists.
End of the press release
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- (Arbitrary) Arrest and Detention
- Denial Fair Trial
- Judicial Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Freedom of association
- Media freedom
- Right to fair trial
- Media Worker
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 5 January 2021, Pham Chi Dung, Nguyen Tuong Thuy, and Le Huu Minh Tuan, detained journalists, were handed down 15, 11 and 11 years of jail respectively on vague charges after an unfair trial, by a Court in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam.