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Blogger Mẹ Nấm

The 88 Project, February 24, 2017: Blogger Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh – Mẹ Nấm’s temporary detention was extended for another three months, yet her family did not receive any written notice. Ms. Nguyễn Thị Tuyết Lan, Mẹ Nấm’s mother, told VOA on February 23 that Khánh Hòa province’s People’s Procuracy had signed a temporary detention extension order for her daughter on January 13, but she has not yet seen the written document. All notices thus far have been given to her “verbally.” She told VOA Vietnamese:

“According to the four-month temporary detention order, February 10 should have been the last day of the detention. On February 14, hearing nothing from the authorities, I filed an inquiry. On February 21, they invited me to come to meet with them and said they had the right to extend the detention for another three months. The officer who invited me was Captain Ngô Xuân Phong. He read to me the order signed on January 13 that extended the temporary detention from February 7 to May 7, meaning for three more months. I asked why they had not notified the family. He said they had notified the temporary detainee only.” Read More

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Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, blogger and entrepreneur serving 16 years in prison

The 88 Project, February 6, 2017: Prisoner of conscience Tran Huynh Duy Thuc resolutely refuses to be exiled in order to be released early from jail. His family visited him in prison No. 6, Nghe An province on January 29, 2016, and mentioned the case of former prisoner of conscience Dang Xuan Dieu who had been released early and immediately exiled to France. But Thuc was determined to not follow that path. Thuc’s brother told the VOA Vietnamese: “Thuc became very serious and told the family to not talk about him leaving anymore. He said change would come very quickly and nothing could stand in its way. He was determined in staying in the country. He didn’t want to be exiled.”

Last year, in May 2016, Thuc’s family shared with the media that he was “forced to immigrate to the United States” but that he “refused to be exiled in exchange for freedom.” Again, in November 2016, Thuc told his family that he “will not go anywhere and will stay side-by-side with his people inside the country through difficult times,” and that his family “shouldn’t await his release.” Read More

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Tran Thi Nga’s arrest on January 21, 2017. Source: VOA Tieng Viet

The 88 Project, January 23, 2017: At least four Vietnamese activists were arrested last week, just days before Tet, the Vietnamese traditional New Year. Among them are Ms. Tran Thi Nga, former political prisoner Mr. Nguyen Van Oai, Mr. Nguyen Van Hoa, and Ms. Nguyen Thi Mien.

State-owned newspapers confirmed the arrest and prosecution of Tran Thi Nga on January 21 under Art. 88 for propaganda against the socialist state, stating that: “prior to being arrested, Tran Thi Nga was accessing the Internet to upload several propaganda videos, clips, and articles against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.”  Nga is a well-known figure among human rights activists in Vietnam. Read More

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Source: #FreeMeNam Facebook page

Prominent blogger Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh, aka Mẹ Nấm (“Mother Mushroom”) was arrested in Khanh Hoa, Vietnam on Oct. 10, 2016 under Article 88 for “propaganda against the State.” As a co-founder and coordinator of the Network of Vietnamese Bloggers and the 2015 Civil Rights Defender of the Year by Civil Rights Defenders, Mẹ Nấm is a well-known blogger both in the blogger community in Vietnam and internationally. She has been instrumental in human rights education in Vietnam in the past ten years through her blog posts and through her active participation in human rights promotion events off-line. She has written about politically sensitive issues such as police brutality, corruption, and has openly criticized controversial government’s policies such as the bauxite mining in the Central Highlands (for which she was arrested for 10 days in 2009), and, more recently, the government handling of the massive fish deaths in Central Vietnam.

Please take this Urgent Action by Amnesty International to demand Me Nam’s release, to ask that she has access to a lawyer and her family and that she’s treated in accordance with international law. Political prisoners in Vietnam are held incommunicado during the investigation/pre-trial period and face risks of torture and other ill-treatments, as documented by Amnesty International’s recent report “Prisons within prisons” on the conditions of prisoners of conscience in Vietnam.

Below are the profile of blogger Me Nam by Civil Rights Defenders (2015) and news and reactions from the international community about her recent arrest.

Civil Rights Defenders, 2015: “At great personal risk, Me Nam has been right at the forefront of human rights activism in Vietnam. With creativity and openness, she is a source of inspiration as she breaks new ground for freedom of expression and speaks out for those who can’t.”

Ms. Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh is the 2015 Civil Rights Defender of the Year. She is Coordinator for the Vietnamese Bloggers Network and well known for her use of social media to speak out against injustices and human rights abuses in Vietnam.

Quỳnh has been blogging under the pseudonym of Me Nam (Mother Mushroom) and has openly criticised the Vietnamese government over human rights abuses and corruption. She began blogging in early 2006 when she paid a visit to a hospital and witnessed many poor people in the hot sun desperately waiting for treatment, but ignored because they lacked money to bribe hospital officials.

Quoted on her award diploma Civil Rights Defenders sums up the wonderful spirit of this worthy recipient. “At great personal risk, Me Nam has been right at the forefront of human rights activism in Vietnam. With creativity and openness, she is a source of inspiration as she breaks new ground for freedom of expression and speaks out for those who can’t.”

Her personal motivation for blogging about injustices in Vietnam comes down to a very simple and personal reason, which she sums up in her own words; “I do not want my children to struggle and do what I’m doing now.”

Read our report about bloggers and the human rights movement in Vietnam: We will not be silenced

Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh – winner of the Civil Rights Defender of the Year Award 2015.

Source: Defenders’ Days 2015 Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh

The New York Times, Vietnam Arrests Mother Mushroom, a Top Blogger, for Criticizing Government, Oct. 11, 2016

Committee to Protect Journalists, Prominent blogger ‘Mother Mushroom’ detained in Vietnam, Oct. 11, 2016

Associated Press, US and EU call on Vietnam to release arrested blogger, Oct. 12, 2016

U.S. Embassy in Vietnam, Statement by U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius, Oct. 12, 2016

United Nations, UN human rights chief expresses concern about Viet Nam’s crackdown on blogger, Oct. 14, 2016

Human Rights Watch, Vietnam: Reform Criminal Law to Respect Rights – Assembly Should Overhaul Laws Recently Used to Silence Blogger ‘Mother Mushroom’, Oct. 17, 2016

Reporters without Borders, RSF calls for blogger’s immediate release, Oct. 17, 2016

Vietnamese Bloggers, Campaign to Free Me Nam (in Vietnamese)