Police within the Vietnamese capital Hanoi arrested RFA blogger Nguyen Tuong Thuy Saturday, accusing him of “making, storing, and disseminating documents and materials for anti-state purposes,” his spouse advised RFA.
Nguyen, 70, was vice chairman of the Vietnam Independent Journalists Association and is the third member of the group arrested since November, when a colleague was additionally arrested on related prices, which fall beneath article 117 of the communist nation’s penal code.
His spouse, Pham Thi Lan, confirmed the arrest in a quick phone interview with RFA’s Vietnamese Service. She mentioned police escorted him to Ho Chi Minh City from Hanoi, the place he and his spouse dwell.
Details of his arrest weren’t instantly out there.
RFA known as police investigator Tran Hoang Hiep, whose identify is on Thuy’s warrant, for touch upon the case, however he requested for proof the reporter was really from RFA after which hung up the cellphone.
Thuy, a 22-year navy veteran, had been summoned by Hanoi police 3 times in reference to the arrest on Nov. 21, 2019 of Pham Chi Dung, the chairman of the Vietnam Independent Journalists Association. He is accused of propagandizing towards the state.
On Nov. 21, police additionally arrested one other member of the affiliation, dissident author Pham Thanh, on article 117 prices.
Nguyen, who has written weblog commentaries on civil rights and freedom of speech for RFA’s Vietnamese Service for roughly six years, visited the United States in 2014 to testify earlier than the House of Representatives on media freedom issues in Vietnam.
He advised RFA on the time that he was “interested in the development of social media in Vietnamese society. In Vietnam nowadays, freedom of press is restricted and the government only recognizes state media.”
In March, a court docket sentenced RFA Vietnamese blogger Truong Duy Nhat to to 10 years for “abusing his position and authority” in a decades-old land-fraud case that drew worldwide condemnation as a result of the author had been kidnapped, apparently by Vietnamese brokers, in Thailand.
Prior to his disappearance, Truong Duy Nhat had been a weekly contributor to RFA’s Vietnamese Service. He had earlier been jailed in Vietnam from 2013 to 2015 for his writings criticizing Vietnam’s authorities.
Vietnam, whose ruling Communist Party controls all media and tolerates no dissent, ranks 175th of 180 international locations on the 2020 RSF’s World Press Freedom Index.
According to the NGO Defend the Defenders, Hanoi has arrested a minimum of 29 activists, together with 19 bloggers, for writing posts on-line, and is presently detaining 238 prisoners of conscience. New York-based Human Rights Watch has mentioned that authorities held 138 political prisoners as of October 2019.
The nation has been persistently rated “not free” within the areas of web and press freedom by Freedom House, a U.S.-based watchdog group.
Dissent just isn’t tolerated within the communist nation, and authorities routinely use a set of obscure provisions within the penal code to detain dozens of writers and bloggers.
Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Viet Ha. Written in English by Paul Eckert.