Thirteen people were arrested in Vietnam over blogging and publishing posts on Facebook in Vietnam, Amnesty International reports.
The arrests follow the approval of a new cybersecurity law which will take full effect in January 2019.
According to Amnesty International, sentences of up to 15 years were handed to five protesters under Article 79 of Vietnam’s Penal Code, over “activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration”:
- Luu Van Vinh: sentenced to 15 years.
- Nguyen Quoc Hoan: sentenced to 13 years.
- Nguyen Van Duc Do: sentenced to 11 years.
- Tu Cong Nghia: sentenced to 10 years.
- Phan Trung: sentenced to 8 years.
The new cybersecurity law will require certain entities to store data within the territory of Vietnam and impose a legal obligation on Internet providers to prevent the distribution and deletion of “any illegal content propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam”. Among the forbidden content listed, there is content deemed to be “embarrassing” or “in violation of the economic management order”. The law also requires Internet providers to record and hand over system logs to the government in order to assist investigations. In certain cases, they are required to cease their services from “violators” of the cybersecurity law (the full text of the Law in Vietnamese can be viewed here).
According to Freedom House’s Freedom of the Net report for the year 2017, Vietnam is Not Free. Prosecution of bloggers was reported to intensify during 2017 and reach its peak following the approval of the new cybersecurity law in 12 June 2018, imposing further restrictions on internet freedom.