Do you remember the three Vietnamese bloggers – Ta Phong Tan, Phan Thanh Hai (aka Anhbasaigon) and Nguyen Van Hai (aka Dieu Cay) – who had been arrested for criticizing the country’s government on human rights abuses, corruption and foreign policy? All three of them were sentenced multiple years in jail.
Nguyen Van Hai (aka Dieu Cay) was in prison since April 2008, Phan Thanh Hai (aka Anhbasaigon) was in pre-trial detention since October 2010 and Ta Phong Tan was arrested on September, 2011. Nguyen Van Hai, used to write under the pen name Dieu Cay or “Tobacco Pipe”, criticized the Vietnamese government for its handling of tensions with neighboring China over disputed islands in the South China Sea. Ta Phong Tan, a former police officer, wrote a blog called “Justice and Truth” that criticized police abuse of power.
On September 24, after Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung ordered a crackdown on political blogs, Ho Chi Minh City’s People’s Court sentenced the three dissident bloggers to prison because of “conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.” The trial in Ho Chi Minh City’s People’s Court lasted less than six hours.
According to defense lawyer Ha Huy Son, Nguyen Van Hai has been sentenced for 12 years, Ta Phong Tan has received a punishment for 10 years, and Phan Thanh Hai has been sentenced for 4 years.