Vietnamese Blogger Released After Serving 2 Years in Prison for Criticising Government; Reboots Blog

51-year-old Vietnamese blogger, Truong Duy Nhat, was released in May after serving two years in prison over blog posts criticising the government for human rights abuses, Asian News reports.

The blogger has followed his commitment to reboot his blog, only hours following his release, despite the fear of being arrested again. In order to minimize collision with authorities, he moved the host server out of Vietnam. However, the blog’s name and description remained the same.

On his popular blog: “A different point of view” (Mot Cach NHIN Khac), the activist has continuously monitored the activities of the ruling Communist leadership and has shed light over governmental abuses. The website was shut down promptly following Naht’s arrest in May 2013.

Nhat was maintained under custody during his trial. On March 4, 2014, he was convicted of violating Article 258 of the Penal Code, prohibiting “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe on the interests of the state”. The vague crime, increasingly used in the state to arrest bloggers, can reach in Vietnam the punishment of up to 7 years in prison.

The prosecution attributed to Nhat charges of inciting “hate fueled debates“, as Nhat’s blog presented a critical outlook over the government controlled official media and members of the Communist Party.

Asian News quoted Nhat’s statement to Radio Free Asia (RFA) following his release:

“First, I want to reiterate the fact that I’m a journalist and a writer, so I cannot ignore what is happening in society. I cannot choose a quiet life just because I was in prison”

According to the Freedom House report on freedom of the net for the year 2014, Vietnam’s status is “not free”. Political and social content is blocked and bloggers are being arrested. Vietnam is named in the report: “one of the world’s worst jailer of netizens”, whereas at least 31 net users have served prison time during 2014.

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