A dissident blogger was sentenced to 15 months in prison for writing critical posts about the Vietnamese government.
Pham Viet Dao was found guilty of posting articles critical of senior government officials in a manner that infringed on the best interests of the state. The ruling came after a two-hour trial at Hanoi’s People’s Court presided over by Judge Ngo Tu Hoc.
Dao confessed to writing the articles and apologized for some of the content saying he had not intended to release some of the information included in his posts. Dao said he did not believe his writing had such a negative impact on society.
The judge ruled the confession to be sincere and said it was why the sentence was only 15 months. Mr. Dao has no previous criminal record.
He is a member of the Vietnamese Writer’s Association and a former official in the Cultural Ministry. He was arrested at his home in Hanoi last year. His membership in the Communist party was suspended after his arrest.
Intensified effort to curtail dissent
Mr. Dao is the second blogger to be jailed for posting critical articles in Vietnam this month. Another well known writer, Truong Duy Nhat was sentenced in Danang to two years in prison on the same charges a few days earlier.
BBC reports that the Vietnamese government is intensifying efforts to stop dissent by cracking down on known critics like Mr. Dao and Mr. Nhat. The same law used to imprison both these men has been used to detain and punish dozens of writers, bloggers and journalists in the last year.
All media in Vietnam are state-run and subject to uncompromising regulation.