HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam – The NGO Human Rights Watch condemned on Thursday the treatment of a woman in Vietnam and the international community’s inaction after a court upheld a 10-year prison sentence for the activist.
Phil Robertson, the Asia deputy director of nonprofit Human Rights Watch, in statements to the media, called Thursday’s hearing – in the central city of Danang, in which Vietnamese Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh’s appeal against the sentence was rejected – a farce.
Quynh, a blogger known for criticizing corruption and the Vietnamese government, wrote under the nickname Mother Mushroom.
“Hanoi is going after the opinion leaders like Mother Mushroom first, with the hope that chopping down her and other prominent dissident heroes will intimidate rank and file activists to halt their activities,” said Robertson.
On Monday, on the north central coast of Vietnam, the provincial court in Ha Tinh, capital of the homonymous province, sentenced activist Nguyen Van Hoa to seven years in prison after finding him guilty of spreading anti-state propaganda between 2013 and 2017.
The communist regime ruling the country passed a law in 2013 banning the publication of material on the internet that is critical of the government or that could damage national security.
Vietnam ranks 175 among 180 countries in the Reporters without Borders’ 2017 Index of Press Freedom.