Vietnam: Activist and journalist sentenced to four years jail

Do Cong Duong, Vietnamese land rights activist and citizen journalist was sentenced to 48 months jail for ‘disturbing public order’. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) have strongly crticised the ruling and demanded that all charges against Duong be dropped.

Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. Credit: NHAC NGUYEN / AFP

Do Cong Duong, Vietnamese land rights activist and citizen journalist was sentenced to 48 months jail for ‘disturbing public order’. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) have strongly crticised the ruling and demanded that all charges against Duong be dropped.

On Monday, September 17, a court in Bac Ninh in northern Vietnam sentenced Do Cong Duong to 48 months jail for ‘disturbing public order’. The sentencing relates to the January 24 arrest of Duong by police while he was filming a forced eviction in Bac Ninh. Duong has been in police detention since January, and was only granted access to his lawyer on April 5. According to Radio Free Asia (RFA), Duong was one of four defendants, and was handed the heaviest penalty under article 331 of the 2005 penal code.

According to Project 88 Duong was charged with ‘abusing democratic freedoms’ in June and will face court in October. Under these charges he faces seven years in jail. Prior to his arrest, Duong was an active citizen journalist on Facebook. In September 2017, he received a written warning from Bac Ninh police, saying that his post were distorting the truth and ‘impacts upon the credibility and reputation of other citizens and organizations’.    

Duong’s lawyer, Ha Huy Son told RFA that his client had asked him to file an appeal.

According to Human Rights Watch, since January 2018, at least 28 rights activists and bloggers have been sentenced to long prison terms. According to the Committee to Protect Journalist, in December 2017, there were 10 journalists jailed in Vietnam, all on anti-state charges related to their work.

The IFJ said: “The detention and jailing of journalists is increasingly becoming a tool of repression by governments trying to stifle critical voices. The charges against Do Cong Duong must be dropped immediately and he should be immediately released from jail.”  

The IFJ does not have an affiliate in Vietnam. 

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

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