Vietnam has sentenced three Vietnamese bloggers with harsh jail sentences on charges of anti-state propaganda.
Reports say Nguyen Van Hai was sentenced to 12 years in prison followed by five years of house arrest. Ta Phong Tan, a female blogger, was sentenced to 10 years in prison followed by five years of house arrest. And Phan Thanh Hai got 4 years in prison followed by three years of house arrest.
Today at Washington DC, Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland says the United States is deeply troubled by the convictions of three Vietnamese bloggers who appear to have done nothing more than exercise their right to freedom of expression.
Ms. Nuland says punishing activists for simply exercising their right to freedom of expression is inconsistent with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“These convictions are the latest in a series of moves by Vietnamese authorities to restrict freedom of expression.” -Ms. Nuland
The Vietnamese government should release these three bloggers, all prisoners of conscience, and adhere to its international obligations immediately, Ms. Nuland said.
She stresses that a free media is essential to an open and just society.
As Secretary Clinton has noted, protection of human rights is a necessary step in developing a closer, more mature bilateral relationship, Ms. Nuland added.
Reports say Vietnam has reputation as one of the world’s most restrictive countries for freedom of speech and the press.