A Vietnamese court convicted and sentenced Nguyen Huu Vinh and his colleague Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy on March 23, 2016, under article 258 of the penal code for allegedly “abusing the rights to freedom and democracy to infringe upon the interests of the state. ”Nguyen Huu Vinh, also known as Anh Ba Sam, was sentenced to five years in prison. Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy was given a three year sentence.
Both have been in custody since May 2014.
Nguyen Huu Vinh a former police officer and party member, started the blog Anh Ba Sam in 2007 publishing articles and commentaries on Vietnamese political, social, economic, and cultural issues.
In a statement released March 23, the United States Embassy in Vietnam said the U.S. is deeply concerned by the Vietnamese government’s conviction and sentencing of the bloggers, noting that, “the use of criminal provisions by Vietnamese authorities to penalize individuals peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression is disturbing.
These convictions appear to be inconsistent with the right to freedom of expression and freedom of the press provided for in Vietnam’s Constitution, and with Vietnam’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other international commitments.”
The United States calls on the government of Vietnam to release unconditionally these two individuals, as well as all other prisoners of conscience, and allow all Vietnamese to express their views peacefully, without fear of retribution.