Vietnam should immediately release rights activist Tran Thi Nga and drop politically motivated charges against her, Human Rights Watch has said. Tran Thi Nga (also known as Thuy Nga), 40, was arrested on Jan. 21 and charged with conducting propaganda against the state under Article 88 of the penal code. State media said that Tran Thi Nga "accessed the internet to post a number of video clips and articles to propagandize against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam." "It is ridiculous for the Vietnamese government to make accessing the internet and posting critical views a crime," said Brad Adams HRW's Asia director. "Vietnam's international donors and trade partners should tell the government loud and clear that they will reassess their relationships if it keeps throwing peaceful critics in prison." Officials have arrested at least a dozen bloggers and activists during the past five months and charged them with vaguely-defined national security violations. Tran Thi Nga has long suffered intimidation, harassment, detention, interrogation, and physical assault because of her labor and other activism. In May 2013, Tran Thi Nga and her young sons went from Ha Nam to Hanoi to attend a human rights picnic at Nghia Do Park. Police pressured a motel owner to kick them out at midnight, in the rain, where they slept on the sidewalk until friends could come to help them. Vietnam has a long history of persecuting anyone the ruling Communist Party deems threatening to its monopoly of power.
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