December 28, 2016
By Đôn Lê (Loa) – Web Exclusive
A court in Nha Trang has upheld the sentence of a Vietnamese democracy activist, who along with his cousin was sentenced on charges of conducting “propaganda against the state” earlier this year.
Nguyễn Hũu Quốc Duy, 31, had his three-year prison term upheld after a 90-minute appeal trial on Monday at the Khánh Hoà Provincial People’s Court.
Authorities arrested Duy in November 2015, accusing him of sharing articles on his Facebook page that, according to state media, “distorted the party and state policy.”
Duy stood trial and was sentenced alongside his cousin, Nguyễn Hữu Thiên An, 21, on August 23. They were convicted to three and two years prison each. An did not appeal his sentence.
Police denied Duy’s family members access to the courthouse and prevented them from attending the appeal trial, the blog Dân Làm Báo reported. Duy’s mother was briefly taken into police custody when she tried to attend his trial in August this year.
Nguyễn Khả Thành, one of Duy’s lawyers, in a Facebook recounted Duy’s statement during the appeal trial: “I am not against anyone. I simply wrote and shared articles speaking of the negative aspects of society, in order to make our society better.”
Vietnamese courts have upheld a series of sentences meted out against democracy and social activists over the past few months, most recently against outspoken land rights activist Cần Thị Thêu.
Bloggers and citizen journalists have also been arbitrarily detained, with many being charged with conducting “propaganda against the state” under Article 88 of Việt Nam’s penal code.