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Vietnam arrests four for anti-state Facebook posts

Detained democracy activist says he will continue to speak out even if he is imprisoned
Vietnam arrests four for anti-state Facebook posts

Blogger Le Van Dung was arrested in capital Hanoi. (Photo: Facebook)

Published: July 03, 2021 06:03 AM GMT
Updated: July 03, 2021 06:04 AM GMT

Police in Hanoi and a central province have detained four Facebookers for posts allegedly infringing state interests and fighting against the communist government.

State-run Quang Ngai newspaper reported on June 30 that police in Quang Ngai province arrested Bach Van Hien, 34, Phung Thanh Tuyen, 38, and Le Trung Thu, 41, all of Quang Ngai city. Police also conducted exhaustive searches of their houses but did not announce what they collected.

The newspaper said the three men are accused of "abusing freedom and democracy rights to infringe upon the interests of the state, the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and individuals" according to Article 331 of the Penal Code.

They are alleged to have produced, posted, spread and shared materials that infringed legal rights and interests of the people's court, public security, army, inspectorate, propaganda and education committee, Vietnam Television Station and Communist Party leaders.

The three will be detained for at least two months for investigation.

State-run Phap Luat newspaper reported on June 30 that democracy activist and blogger Le Van Dung, also known as Le Dung Vova, was arrested while hiding in a house in Ung Hoa district on the outskirts of capital Hanoi.

I hope people will recognize my work to be true of a citizen’s conscience and duties

In late May, Hanoi Public Security Department accused Dung, a Hanoi resident, of making, restoring and spreading information and materials against the communist government. He was absent while security officers were searching his house and took away his wife's computer and two smart cells.

Dung, 51, is being detained in Camp No. 1 in Hanoi for at least four months for investigation.

Before his arrest, Dung, who had livestreamed political, economic and social issues on social media, said he had been summoned to police stations many times since January. He was asked to confirm 12 alleged clips made by himself but he confirmed only seven that were saved on his Facebook account.

The engineer said he produced proper material, shared his work experience and gave advice about enhancing transparency in society. He did not join any political parties.

“I see my activities as useful for people and the nation. All people should do the same to build a better society. I hope people will recognize my work to be true of a citizen’s conscience and duties,” he said.

“If I am imprisoned for speaking out my conscience, I will still do that. I know that telling the truth will place both myself and my family at distinct advantages due to discrimination against a difference of opinion.”

Freedom House in 2020 reported that freedom of expression, religious freedom and civil society activism are tightly restricted in Vietnam, where authorities have increasingly cracked down on citizens’ use of social media and the internet to voice dissent and share uncensored information.

The independent watchdog said journalists, bloggers and human rights activists continued to face arrests, criminal convictions and physical assaults during the year.

US-based Radio Free Asia reported that during the first four months of this year Vietnam arrested at least 10 people for allegedly damaging national security.

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