Rights group urges Vietnam to release jailed blogger

August 11th, 2011 - 2:14 am ICT by BNO News  

LONDON (BNO NEWS) — Amnesty International on Wednesday urged Vietnamese authorities to release a French-Vietnamese blogger who has been sentenced to three years in prison on charges of subversion.

Professor Pham Minh Hoang, a math lecturer, was accused of writing articles which “blackened the image of the country” during a trial in Ho Chi Minh City. Hoang, however, told the court that his writings were not aimed at overthrowing anyone.

Hoang, who is a member of the banned U.S.-based opposition group Viet Tan, had joined other activists in criticizing a Chinese-backed bauxite mine in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, which they believe has caused environmental degradation in the area.

”To imprison a blogger for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression is outrageous. The authorities should immediately release Professor Hoang, and stop their harsh crackdown on peaceful government critics and activists,” said Donna Guest, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Asia-Pacific. 

“Tuesday’s sentence, and the continuing arrests of activists and bloggers paint an increasingly bleak picture of freedom of expression and association in Vietnam,” Hoang added.

Pham Minh Hoang’s family has said he will appeal against the sentence.

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