Vietnamese court frees dissident on appeal

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vietnam frees dA Vietnamese court on August 16 overturned the six-year jail sentence of a student activist who had been convicted of “humiliating the administration” for distributing anti-government leaflets. 21-year-old Nguyen Phuong Uyen left the court a free woman, while her co-defendant, 25-year-old Dinh Nguyen Kha, had his eight-year sentence halved.

This display of mercy by the authoritarian Vietnamese government came as a surprise to many international human rights groups and experts on the Vietnamese legal system, who expected this appeal to be dismissed. Crimes of vocal dissent against the Vietnamese government often carry 20-year prison sentences, which are typically served in full. This year alone at least 46 activists have been convicted of anti-government activities in Vietnam.

In court, Nguyen Phuong Uyen described herself as a patriot and said, “[o]pposing the Communist Party does not mean opposing the country and the people,” according to a transcript of the proceedings.

This unexpected turn of events suggests the involvement of top Vietnamese officials behind the scenes. The question is why.

Vietnam has been heavily criticized this year by international legal and human rights groups on account of a series of government actions. Aside from jailing high numbers of activists and dissidents, the country recently passed a law that restricts what information Vietnamese citizens are allowed to post online. Thus the release of this young, sympathetic dissident in a trial that has gotten a great deal of international media attention could simply be an attempt at winning some good press for a change.

It is still much too early for serious speculation over whether this signals a liberal change of direction for Vietnam. One event does not a trend make.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

A Vietnamese court on August 16 overturned the six-year jail sentence of a student activist who had been convicted of “humiliating the administration” for distributing anti-government leaflets. 21-year-old Nguyen Phuong Uyen left the court a free woman, while her co-defendant, 25-year-old Dinh Nguyen Kha, had his eight-year sentence halved.

Reading Time: 1 minute

vietnam frees dA Vietnamese court on August 16 overturned the six-year jail sentence of a student activist who had been convicted of “humiliating the administration” for distributing anti-government leaflets. 21-year-old Nguyen Phuong Uyen left the court a free woman, while her co-defendant, 25-year-old Dinh Nguyen Kha, had his eight-year sentence halved.

This display of mercy by the authoritarian Vietnamese government came as a surprise to many international human rights groups and experts on the Vietnamese legal system, who expected this appeal to be dismissed. Crimes of vocal dissent against the Vietnamese government often carry 20-year prison sentences, which are typically served in full. This year alone at least 46 activists have been convicted of anti-government activities in Vietnam.

In court, Nguyen Phuong Uyen described herself as a patriot and said, “[o]pposing the Communist Party does not mean opposing the country and the people,” according to a transcript of the proceedings.

This unexpected turn of events suggests the involvement of top Vietnamese officials behind the scenes. The question is why.

Vietnam has been heavily criticized this year by international legal and human rights groups on account of a series of government actions. Aside from jailing high numbers of activists and dissidents, the country recently passed a law that restricts what information Vietnamese citizens are allowed to post online. Thus the release of this young, sympathetic dissident in a trial that has gotten a great deal of international media attention could simply be an attempt at winning some good press for a change.

It is still much too early for serious speculation over whether this signals a liberal change of direction for Vietnam. One event does not a trend make.

Do you like this post?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid