August 11, 2011 | By Jillian C. York

EFF Calls for Release of Vietnamese Blogger Pham Minh Hoang

In Vietnam, being an outspoken blogger can land you in jail.

Pham Minh Hoang, a university professor with dual French and Vietnamese citizenship, was sentenced on August 10 to three years in prison and an additional three years under house arrest, for trying to "overthrow the government." Judge Vu Phi Long ruled that Hoang had "blackened the image of the country" and was guilty of "activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s government."

Hoang is not the first Vietnamese blogger to be persecuted for speaking out. There are currently at least six bloggers in prison, and just last week, blogger Cu Huy Ha Vu was denied his appeal by a Hanoi court, which upheld his seven year sentence.

Hoang's activities prior to arrest included conducting leadership trainings for his students, participating in activism campaigns against bauxite mining in Vietnam, and blogging his criticisms of the Vietnamese government.

In arresting, trying, and sentencing Hoang, the Vietnamese government has criminalized free expression as defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and guaranteed by articles 35, 50, 53 and 69 of the Vietnamese Constitution.

Hoang's family has stated that he plans to appeal the decision.

EFF joins the French and U.S. governments, as well as Amnesty International, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders and Viet Tan, in condemning the sentence and urging the Vietnamese government to release Pham Minh Hoang immediately.


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