Viet Nam
29.06.17
Urgent Interventions

Prominent Blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh sentenced to 10 years in prison

Paris-Geneva,June 29, 2017 - The Observatory for theProtection of Human Rights Defenders (an FIDH-OMCT partnership) and the VietnamCommittee on Human Rights (VCHR) condemn today’s conviction and prison sentenceagainst prominent blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh aka Mother Mushroom and callfor her immediate and unconditional release.

On June 29, 2017, the People’s Courtin Khanh Hoa Province sentenced NguyenNgoc Nhu Quynh to 10 years in prison on charges of “conducting propagandaagainst the State” under Article 88 of Vietnam’s Criminal Code.

By jailing Nguyen NgocNhu Quynh, the Vietnamese Government shows it is not serious about its statedcommitment to upholding human rights. The reality is that Vietnam remains adangerous country for human rights defenders and all those who peacefullycriticize the Government,” said FIDH President Dimitris Christopoulos.

Detained since October 10, 2016,Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh is one of the very first human rights defenders inVietnam to have used the Internet and social media to document human rightsviolations committed by the Vietnamese authorities. Since her first arrest in2009, she has relentlessly criticized the Government on a wide range of socialand political issues.

In April 2016, she addressed the Government’smishandling of serious water pollution problems and the subsequent mass fishdeaths caused by toxic waste discharged by the Taiwanese company FormosaPlastics in three coastal provinces. In an important document entitled “StopPolice Killing Civilians”, Nhu Quynh exposed numerous incidents of policebrutality and alleged torture that resulted in the death of several individualswhile in custody.

“Thesentencing of Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh is outrageous and clearly illustrates the Government’s deliberate efforts to silence any dissentingvoices in the country. We call for her immediate and unconditional release, as herdetention merely aims at punishing her legitimate human rights activities,” said OMCT SecretaryGeneral Gerald Staberock.

Because of her outspoken stance onhuman rights, her mother and other family members have been subjected tosurveillance and harassment by the authorities. Detained incommunicado fromOctober 2016 until June 2017, Nhu Quynh’s health has been seriously affectedand she has had no opportunity to prepare her defence.

In an Opinion issued on May 30,2017, the United Nations (UN) Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD)declared that Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh’s detention was arbitrary because itviolated her rights to liberty; fair trial; freedom of expression; freedom ofpeaceful assembly; and freedom of association. The WGAD concluded that NhuQuynh’s “arrest and detention was intended to restrict her activities as ahuman rights defender”[1].The WGAD called on the Vietnamese authorities to immediately release NguyenNgoc Nhu Quynh, and urged the Government to bring Article 88 of the CriminalCode in compliance with Vietnam’s international human rights obligations.

Vietnam’s harsh sentenceagainst Nhu Quynh and its relentless crackdown on human rights defenders is theresult of the use of numerous repressive laws that must be urgently repealed.The Government must use the ongoing revision of the Criminal Code to repealArticle 88 and other draconian provisions,” said VCHR President Vo Van Ai.

TheObservatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) wascreated in 1997 by FIDH and OMCT. The objective of this program is to preventor remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH andOMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human RightsDefenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

For more information, pleasecontact:

FIDH: Samuel Hanryon(French, English): +33 6 72 28 42 94 (Paris) / Andrea Giorgetta (English): Tel:+66886117722 (Bangkok)

VCHR: Penelope Faulkner+33 1 45 98 30 85 (English, Vietnamese) OMCT: Delphine Reculeau (French, English): +41 22 809 49 39 (Geneva)

[1] See UNWGAD Opinion A/HRC/WGAD/2017/27 adopted at itsseventy-eight session, April 19-28, 2017, May 30, 2017.

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