Viet Nam: Blogger arrested for criticizing government must be freed

Responding to the news that Vietnamese blogger and political journalist Le Anh Hung has been arrested under suspicion of “abusing democratic freedom” after he published an open letter which criticized the government’s new policy on economic zones, Minar Pimple, Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Global Operation, said:

“Yet again, Viet Nam’s authorities have resorted to the heavy-handed use of repressive laws to shut down peaceful and legitimate criticism.

“Le Anh Hung was simply using his platform as a well-known blogger to express his opinion about a government policy. For writing a letter he now faces the prospect of up to seven years in jail if convicted.

“Viet Nam’s government cannot keep using baseless charges and the threat of prison as a means of gagging its critics. Le Anh Hung must be immediately and unconditionally released and the ongoing crackdown on freedom of expression across the country must end.”

Background

Vietnam’s authorities today arrested Le Anh Hung under suspicion of “Abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State, lawful rights and interests of organizations and/or citizens”.

He will be held for the next three months for investigation and could face up to seven years in prison if he is convicted.

Le Anh Hung published a letter on 2 July 2018, which was shared on social media, criticizing senior members of the country’s ruling Communist Party (CPV) and a proposed new law that would see designated economic zones established within the country offering special incentives for foreign investors.