Another Vietnamese blogger in the dock for "abusing democratic freedoms'

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The Hanoi police Thursday arrested a blogger for "abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State [and] the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and/or citizens."

Investigators said Pham Viet Dao, 61, a native of the north-central province of Nghe An and a Hanoi resident, had violated Article 258 of the Penal Code, Vietnam News Agency reported Thursday.

The Article says: "Those who abuse freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of belief and religion, freedom of assembly and association, or other democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State, the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and/or citizens shall be subject to a warning, non-custodial reform for up to three years or a prison term of between six months and three years.

"Serious violations shall be subject to prison terms of two to seven years."

The police are continuing with their investigation.

Dao is known for his blog, whose name translates as "Writer Pham Viet Dao: World affairs-Literature-Spirituality" and features stories about the 1979 northern border war and government policies.

He is thought to be a literature graduate from Romania and was formerly a Party member, inspector in the erstwhile Ministry of Information and Culture, and director of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism's administrative and anti-corruption inspectorate.

He is also a famous translator of Vietnamese and Romanian works.

Last month the Ministry of Public Security had arrested another blogger, retired journalist Truong Duy Nhat, 49, in the central city of Da Nang on a similar charge. 

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