A Vietnamese court docket on Tuesday sentenced a pair to jail for “abusing democratic freedoms” on their widespread social media channel by allegedly smearing Vietnamese officers, one of many defendants mentioned.
A court docket in Dong Nai province sentenced Nguyen Thai Hung to a four-year time period and his partner, Vu Thi Kim Hoang, to two-and-a-half years for operating their “Telling the Fact TV” YouTube channel, which had almost 40,000 followers and earned allegedly “unlawful earnings” of greater than 384 million dong, or U.S. $15,500, from ads.
Throughout the trial, police introduced proof from materials the pair introduced on the social media platform addressing a lethal January 2020 police raid over a tense land dispute in northern Vietnam’s Dong Tam village, the administration of prisoners, and Vietnam’s communist regime and authorized system.
Hoang, 44, was arrested with Hung, 50, in January. Police launched Hoang in late April.
She informed RFA that the couple first employed Nguyen Van Mieng as their protection lawyer, however later dismissed him underneath stress from police. In addition they believed they’d be capable to defend themselves on the trial.
However the trial didn’t go as anticipated, Hoang mentioned.
“We couldn’t debate a lot at immediately’s trial,” she mentioned. “More often than not, they requested us yes-or-no questions. That was it. As a result of we didn’t have a lawyer, we didn’t have the correct to talk.”
Even when the couple had had an opportunity to clarify what that they had completed, the decision would have nonetheless been the identical, Hoang mentioned.
Though the trial was imagined to be open to the general public, Hoang mentioned solely her daughter was allowed into the courtroom. Different family members needed to stay on the constructing’s entrance, she mentioned.
The indictment mentioned from June 2020 to January 2022, Hung used his YouTube channel to host 21 on-line discussions that contained content material “talking badly of the [Communist] Social gathering and the state, distorting the federal government’s socioeconomic coverage, slandering the occasion and state’s high-level leaders, and distorting current high-profile incidents.”
Hung’s feedback within the movies, which every had 19,000-56,000 views, “brought about confusion and worries to the individuals and significantly insulted the occasion and state’s senior leaders,” in line with the indictment.
Hoang was accused of “being a associated and supportive individual” for offering Hung with lodging and letting him use her laptop computer and entry her checking account.
She admitted the acts in court docket, whereas Hung pleaded harmless, saying that by live-streaming his talks on YouTube, he was exercising his rights to freedom of speech and democracy.
After the decision was rendered, the couple introduced that they’d rent a protection lawyer to enchantment the choice.
No further content material has been posted on the YouTube channel for the reason that pair’s arrest.
The one-party state dominated by the ruling Communist Social gathering of Vietnam tightly curbs freedom of expression and enforces stringent controls over the nation’s on-line atmosphere.
Translated by Anna Vu for RFA Vietnamese. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin. Edited by Jim Snyder.