Monday, June 18, 2012

Catholic dissidents sentenced

Four Catholic dissidents affiliated with the  Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer were sentenced to prison terms at a trial held May 24 in Nghe An province, charged with conducting propaganda against the state. As reported by Front Line Defenders:

"Dau Van Dong was convicted to three and a half years of imprisonment with one year probation, Tran Huc Duc was convicted to three years and three months of imprisonment with one year probation, Chu Manh Son was sentenced to three years of imprisonment with one year probation, while Hoang Phong received a sentencing of two years probation."

The report notes that the defendants "were represented by three lawyers who only recently had access to their clients, whom they believe were convicted for handing out pro-democracy leaflets."

According to Human Rights Watch: "the four activists had participated in volunteer activities, including encouraging women not to have abortions, donating blood, and volunteering to help orphans and victims of natural disasters."

Sources: Front Line Defenders June 15; Human Rigths Watch, May22.

Journalists protest assaults against them

VietnamNet Bridge reports:

"Over the past five years, there have been about 40 cases in which journalists were assaulted, five of which have occurred recently, said deputy chairman of the Vietnam Journalists Association Pham Quoc Toan."

Among the recent cases was a police assault of two journalists covering a forced land eviction last April, and a journalist who was assaulted by a group of people in Lang Son province last January while working on a report about smuggling. Reporters are particularly vulnerable by attacks from the subjects of their investigation when writing about corruptiion cases.

The Vietnam Journalists Association has called for regulations to protect the rights of journalists and their activities, such as recording, photographing, shooting, getting information or material.

Source: VietnamNet/Tuoi Tre, June 13.