Vietnam detains blogger for anti-state criticism
(Reuters) – Vietnamese police have detained a former journalist who ran a blog containing anti-state views, authorities said on Monday, part of a widening crackdown on dissent in the Communist-run country.
Truong Duy Nhat, 49, was taken into custody on Sunday and police searched his house in the central city of Danang. He complied with an urgent warrant issued against him, the Ministry of Public Security said in a statement on Monday. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in jail.
Online dissent has grown in the past year as Vietnam wrestles with deep economic woes that have shattered its image as one of Asia’s hottest emerging markets. Some bloggers have harshly criticised Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, accusing him of cronyism and economic mismanagement – which he denies.
The ministry said Nhat violated a clause of the penal code on abusing democratic freedoms with acts against the state. It did not elaborate on his actions.
Nhat, a former journalist at state-run newspapers, including one run by the Danang police force, was moved to Hanoi for further investigation, state media said.
He quit his journalist job in 2010 and ran a blog titled ‘Truong Duy Nhat – a different viewpoint’ that was known for criticism of top government officials including the prime minister.
He also conducted an online opinion poll just weeks before the National Assembly’s first-ever confidence vote on top officials, scheduled for early June.
(Reporting by Hanoi Newsroom; Editing by Robert Birsel)
HANOI, Vietnam – A prominent Vietnamese blogger has been arrested for posting articles critical of the communist government, reports said Monday, May 27, in the latest crackdown on dissent in the authoritarian country.
Truong Duy Nhat, 49, was arrested Sunday at his home in coastal Danang city and escorted to Vietnam’s capital Hanoi for questioning, the state-run Tuoi Tre newspaper said.
He stands accused of “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe on the interests of the state”, a charge that could result in a maximum seven years in jail, the report said.
Nhat, who had worked for Vietnam’s official press but quit in 2011, writes the popular blog “A Different Viewpoint”.
His posts offer alternative commentary on Vietnam’s news from the staid official press, and Tuoi Tre said they had “attracted heated debate” online.
It has not been possible to access his blog — which frequently dealt with highly sensitive political issues — since his arrest.
In a late April post, Nhat called for Vietnam’s top leaders to resign, saying “it’s time for a new party general secretary and prime minister” to save the nation from its economic and political woes.
Vietnam bans private media, with all newspapers and television channels state-run. Lawyers, bloggers and activists are regularly subject to arbitrary arrest and detention, according to rights groups.
In February, journalist Nguyen Dac Kien was fired from his state-run newspaper after criticizing the head of the ruling Communist Party on his personal blog.
So far in 2013, at least 38 activists have been convicted of anti-state activity under what rights groups say are vaguely defined articles of the penal code. – Rappler.com