A Hanoi appeal court today upheld the seven-year jail sentence that the dissident blogger Cu Huy Ha Vu received last April on a charge of anti-government propaganda. The public and media were barred from the courtroom but were able to watch the proceedings on a TV screen in an adjoining room.
During today’s hearing, Cu said he had been the victim of a political trial and described his sentence as an act of “revenge” by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.
Cyber-dissident gets seven years for comments posted online
Reporters Without Borders deplores the seven-year jail sentence that a Hanoi court imposed today on dissident Cu Huy Ha Vu on a charge of “propaganda against the state,” at the end of an unfair trial lasting just half a day.
“Seventeen netizens are currently in prison in Vietnam for calling for democracy or a multi-party system,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This is the second highest number of jailed cyber-dissidents in the world.”
The press freedom organization added: “We call on the authorities to end their harassment of dissidents, and to begin respecting free speech and the right of each citizen to freely express an opinion. Vu must be freed without delay.”
He previously filed two complaints against Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in connection with the country’s bauxite mining and a ban on collective claims in the courts.
During his trial, he was constantly interrupted when he tried to defend himself and one of his lawyers was expelled from the courtroom. Only a handful of journalists were permitted to cover the trial via a video link from an adjoining room. A demonstration outside the court was broken up by the police.
Vu is the son of the poet Cu Huy Can, who had close links to Ho Chi Minh, founder of the Vietnamese Communist Party.
Vietnam is on the Reporters Without Borders list of “Enemies of the Internet”, which was updated on 12 March.