By Kristy Tridhavee
Impunity Watch Senior Desk Officer, Asia
HANOI, Vietnam – A Vietnamese appeals court upheld the sentences of four dissidents who were sentenced in 2007 for “spreading distorted information to undermine the state.” Judge Nguyen Xuan Phat of the Supreme Court of Appeals in Ho Chi Minh City refused to reduce the sentences of Tran Thi Le Hong, Phung Quang Quyen, Doan Van Dien, and his son Doan Huy Chuong. According to Ho Thi Thuong, wife of Doan Vien Dien and mother of Doan Huy Chuong, the court refused because in giving interviews with Radio Free Asia, the four committing very serious crimes because they had defamed the government and many people had listened. The four have jail terms ranging from 18 months to 4 ½ years.
The Vietnamese government accused the four of collecting complaints of land-rights violations and giving the information to Radio Free Asia and other news organizations. The four are also accused of distributing anti-government leaflets prior to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. The four are affiliated with the United Workers-Farmers Organization [UWFO]. UWFO campaigns for the right to form independent labor unions and defends farmers whose land has been confiscated
Vietnam news organizations have reported that the four have deliberated tried to sabotage Vietnam with lies. According the Vietnam news organizations, the four men have collected information regarding land-rights in the country and changed their contents before distributing them and uploaded the information on anti-Vietnam websites. Doan Van Dien is also accused of asking his son Doan Huy Chuong to give phone interviews to Radio Free Asia and Hoa Mai Club Radio disguised as a worker taking part in the labor strikes. Vietnam news organizations allege that Doan Huy Chuong distorted facts and falsely accused the state of repressing workers and arresting demonstrators.
For more information, please see:
Earthtimes – Vietnamese Dissidents’ Sentences Upheld – 26 February 2008
Radio Free Asia – Vietnam Upholds Dissident Jail Terms – 27 February 2008
VietNamNet – Court Reject Saboteurs’ Appeal of Sentence Cut – 26 February 2008