Vietnam court upholds 2-year jail term for blogger

By Nguyen Tu, Thanh Nien News

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Truong Duy Nhat, 50, had his two-year sentence upheld in an appeals trial on June 26. Photo: Nguyen Tu

Vietnam's highest court upheld a two-year sentence against a blogger convicted of “abusing democratic freedoms” to slander leaders of the Party and the State following the conclusion of an appeals trial in the central city of Da Nang on Thursday.
Truong Duy Nhat, 50, was convicted of “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State, the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and/or citizens" by the Supreme People’s Court.
On March 4, he was sentenced to two years in jail by a  Da Nang court. He then appealed the verdict.
Nhat, a retired journalist, is known for his blog Mot Goc Nhin Khac, translated as "Another point of view." The blog has not been accessible since his detention in May of last year.
Nhat used to work as a journalist for Cong An Quang Nam Da Nang (Quang Nam-Da Nang Province Police) newspaper and then for the Dai Doan Ket (Great Solidarity) Newspaper.
He attracted widespread attention in the Vietnamese blogosphere when he declared in early 2011 he was retiring from journalism and turning to blogging.
His entries offered an alternative perspective and often sparked heated debate.
According to the indictment issued by the Supreme People’s Procuracy -- Vietnam's highest prosecutors' office -- between 2007 and May 25, 2013, Nhat posted 1,000 entries on his personal blog and website.
Eleven entries, which were written by Nhat, and another entry by Nguyen Duong contain false information about leaders of the Party and the State, the indictment said.
In 2011-2012, Da Nang police repeatedly asked Nhat to stop blogging and shut down his website. Nhat removed some entries and comments but still kept his website.
During his appeals trial, Nhat maintained that he had not distorted the truth, saying his entries were written for constructive purposes.

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