Blogger in Vietnam Jailed for 10 Years Because of “Conducting anti-State propaganda”

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Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, a Vietnamese blogger, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison by the Vietnamese authorities according to state media.

Quynh, also known by her pseudonym as Me Nam, which translates to “Mother Mushroom” was convicted on the charge of “conducting anti-State propaganda.”

The 37-year-old runs a blog which critics the government frequently, and covers issues such as freedom of speech, police brutality and land confiscation.

Quynh is famous for using the catchphrase, “Who will speak if you don’t?”

The authorities noticed Nguyen in 2009 for her vocal views against the intervention of China in Vietnam, including the financing of a controversial bauxite mine in the Central Highlands by Beijing.

According to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA), which is runned by the state, she was arrested on October 10, 2016, by the Department of Public Security. The Vietnam News Agency reffered to the blogger in reports as an “anti-statet instigator.”

Condemnation

Vietnam was called on by the US to release Nguyen and “all other prisoners of conscience immediately.”

“We’ve seen some positive steps on human rights in Vietnam over the past few years. However, the trend of increased arrests and convictions of peaceful protests since early 2016 is deeply troubling,” Heather Nauert, the State Department spokeswoman said.

The sentencing and the trial are also condemned by press freedom and human rights groups.

“The Vietnamese government uses vague national security laws to silence activists and throttle free speech,” said the deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, Phil Robertson.

“International donors should not watch silently as activists like Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh are jailed for a decade for defending the human rights of all Vietnamese.”

In 2010, she was the recipient of a Hammett/Hellman grant, which “recognizes the courage in the face of political persecution,” Human Rights Watch said.

PEN America released a statement ahead of her conviction, calling for her “unconditional release,” while the sentence got called on as an “obscene injustice,” by the Committee Protect Journalists (CPJ).