Police in Vietnam have arrested a blogger for anti-state writings which they said distorted the truth, tarnished the country’s leaders and instigated the public to oppose the government. Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, 37, was accused of conducting propaganda against the Communist state under Article 88 of the Penal Code and taken into custody in south central Khanh Hoa province Monday, the police said on their website Tuesday. If convicted, she could be jailed for up to 12 years.
Quynh, who blogged under the name of Me Nam or Mother Mushroom, has been blogging about the government’s human rights abuses. The police statement called Quynh a “fierce” opponent of the government who had been given warnings but still “has shown contempt for the law.” It said she had posted hundreds of articles online that “distorted the truth, distorted the history, undermined the national unity, (and) tarnished the (Communist) Party and state leaders.”
Police in Khanh Hoa were not available for comment. Her mother, Nguyen Thi Tuyet Lan, was quoted by the Network of Vietnamese Bloggers as saying Quynh did not commit any crime, but was just speaking the truth.
“She just did what the law allowed and the purpose is for the country to change and to enjoy freedom and democracy,” she said. Quynh was detained for nine days in 2009 for printing T-shirts with slogans opposing the construction of a state-owned bauxite mining project. Last month, a court in Hanoi upheld a five-year sentence for another blogger, Nguyen Huu Vinh, who was convicted of infringing on the interests of the state by posting anti-state writings.
International human rights groups, United States and some European governments have criticized Vietnam for silencing and jailing people for peacefully expressing their views, but Hanoi says only law breakers are put behind bars.