Lam Dong Province Confirms Arrest of Facebooker Vượng Nguyễn Alleged with “Conducting Anti-state Propaganda”
Defend the Defenders, September 29, 2019
On September 27, 2019, authorities in Vietnam’s Central Highlands province of Lam Dong confirmed the arrest of a local resident named Nguyen Quoc Duc Vuong with the allegation of “conducting anti-state propaganda” under Article 117 of the country’s Penal Code.
The confirmation was made by the Don Duong district police on Friday, three days after authorities in Lam Dong deployed dozens of police and militia to detain him from his parents’ private residence in Hai Duong village, Lac Lam commune. The arrest was conducted by the police from the Security Investigation Agency of the Lam Dong province’s Police Department.
Police also conducted a search of his parent’s house and confiscated his personal computer and cell phones.
Police said he will be held incommunicado for at least four months for investigation. He will face imprisonment of between seven and 12 years in prison if is convicted, according to the current Vietnamese law.
Local media cited police’s information as saying that Mr. Vuong, 28, has used his Facebook account Vượng Nguyễn in the past two years to produce and disseminate information defaming the communist regime and its late leader Ho Chi Minh.
Vuong reportedly participated in the mass demonstration in Ho Chi Minh City on June 10, 2018 which aimed to protest two bills on Special Economic Zones and Cyber Security. He was detained by police from Tan Tao ward, Binh Tan district who imposed a fine of VND750,000 ($32) before releasing him.
Vuong has been among more than a dozen of Facebookers being arrested for their posts on Facebook critical for the communist regime since the beginning of 2018 when Cyber Security Law became effective, according to Defend the Defenders’ statistics. Vietnam’s communist regime has targetted Facebookers in provinces instead of other online activists in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and other big cities, noted Defend the Defenders’ Director Vu Quoc Ngu.
So far this year, Vietnam has convicted 23 human rights defenders, online critics, and anti-corruption activists and sentenced them to a total 106 years and six months in prison, said Mr. Vu Quoc Ngu, adding the communist nation is holding at least 234 prisoners of conscience.
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