After being arrested in October 2016, blogger and environmental activist Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, or Mother Mushroom, a.k.a. Me Nam, 38, was sentenced on June 29 to ten years in prison under Article 88 of Vietnam’s Penal Code for her online postings and interviews.
The trial was brief, secretive and guarded, continuing a pattern of trials in recent years with few or no outside press, family, or community members allowed and very short trial times. Me Nam’s mother was prohibited from attending the trial.
Her arrest and detention have been deemed arbitrary by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. She sent a message to her children and mother at the onset of the trial and maintained her innocence.
In 2009, Me Nam spent some days in prison as well. She has long worked on issues of human and environmental rights inside Vietnam and received the International Woman of Courage Award from the US State Department, which she was unable to accept in person, earlier in 2017.
Her arrest, detention, and sentence are unjust, and we echo calls of other international organizations, like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International and Civil Rights Defenders, that she should be freed immediately and all charges dropped.
Take PEN International’s action for her, “calling on the Vietnamese authorities to drop the charges against blogger and human rights defender Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, and release her immediately and unconditionally.”