Vietnam jails activist for 'anti-state propaganda'
April 19, 2013
A VIETNAMESE activist has been jailed for three years for conducting "anti-state propaganda", official media said Thursday, in an intensifying crackdown on dissent by the communist regime.
Pham Nguyen Thanh Binh, who was arrested last year, appeared in court in southern Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday and pleaded guilty to the charge of "anti-state" activities, the official Vietnamese News Agency reported.
Binh "agreed he had written eight articles" libelling the country's communist party, the government and its leaders, according to the report.
Binh, 30, was also accused of having contact with the leader of a little known Australia-based "reactionary organisation", and will also have to serve three years under house arrest following the end of his prison term, the report added.
Vietnam is a one-party state and its authoritarian rulers tightly control all public debate. Signs of public dissent routinely result in harsh jail terms for anyone involved.
Dozens of peaceful political activists have been jailed since Vietnam began a new crackdown on free expression in late 2009.
So far this year, at least 36 activists have been convicted of anti-state activity under what rights groups say are vaguely defined articles of the penal code.