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Friday, 30 June 2017

Vietnamese blogger Mother Mushroom jailed for criticising government

Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, also known as 'Mother Mushroom', stands trial.



One of Vietnam's most prominent bloggers has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for criticising the government.
Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh - known as Mother Mushroom - was found guilty of "conducting propaganda against the state" following a one-day trial.

The charges related to 18 articles published on her Facebook page, and interviews she had made with foreign media.
Quynh, who has been blogging since 2006, used social media to raise awareness of issues including freedom of speech, land confiscation, deaths in police custody and environmental disasters, and cultivated a network of more than 100 political bloggers in Vietnam.
She was named civil rights defender of the year by the Civil Rights Defenders charity in 2015.
Quynh was arrested in October after visiting another activist in prison.
She had denied the allegations, insisting on her right to freedom of expression.
International human rights organisations have called for her immediate release and her lawyer has said they will appeal, describing the sentence as "too harsh and unjust".
In a previous interview with Civil Rights Defenders, Quynh said she was fighting for freedom of expression.
"In Vietnam the government wants to control the internet, and they want to control what people should read and shouldn't," she said.
"What I do now is what I want my children to have in the future."
Following the trial, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Vietnam should drop all charges against Quynh and release all other political prisoners.
"The Vietnamese government uses vague national security laws to silence activists and throttle free speech," said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at the watchdog.
A HRW report published in June gave evidence of a "thuggish" crackdown on human rights activists and bloggers in Vietnam, which is a one-party communist state.
It estimates there are around 110 political prisoners in the country.
Vietnam denies holiding political prisoners, and responded to calls for Quynh's release by insisting she was being held under law.
"Like other countries in the world, in Vietnam, all law-violating acts must be strictly dealt with in accordance with the regulations of Vietnamese law," said foreign ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said.

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