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Vietnamese activist arrested for ‘anti-state propaganda’

October 10, 2016

A Vietnamese activist was arrested Monday outside a prison where she was visiting a fellow dissident, her family told AFP, blaming the government for jailing her for having the “courage to speak the truth”.

The one-party state has come under fire for routinely jailing dissident bloggers, activists and lawyers who rights groups say are subject to arbitrary arrest and detention.

Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, 37, was arrested for “anti-state propaganda” outside a jail in south-central Nha Trang city where she was visiting another activist, her mother told AFP.

“She was arrested this morning outside a jail. They took her home in handcuffs, searched our house for several hours and took her away,” Nguyen Thi Tuyet Lan said.

“According to the arrest warrant they read, she will be kept for four months.”

Quynh, more commonly known as Me Nam, has written posts in support of anti-China protesters and accusing the government of right abuses on her Facebook page.

“The arrest is simply a retaliation for my daughter’s courage to speak the truth,” Lan said.

She is accused of violating article 88 of the criminal code, which critics say is one of many vaguely worded provisions used to silence dissidents. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.

Quynh was on Monday visiting Nguyen Huu Quoc Duy, who was convicted in August on charges of training with the US-based Viet Tan party.

Last week, the government officially designated the pro-democracy group a terrorist organisation.

“Anyone participating, asking others to receive sponsorship from Viet Tan, attending training courses by Viet Tan or operating under the group’s guidance will be considered terrorism accomplice,” the Ministry of Public Security said on its website.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.