Blogger Truong Duy Nhat sits in in a courtroom during his trial in Hanoi, Vietnam, on March 10, 2020. His appeal was recently denied. (AFP/Vietnam News Agency)

Vietnamese blogger Truong Duy Nhat’s 10-year jail sentence upheld on appeal

Bangkok, August 17, 2020 –  A court in Hanoi upheld Vietnamese blogger Truong Duy Nhat’s 10-year prison sentence in a one-day hearing on August 14, according to news reports and CPJ’s communication with the journalist’s family.

“Vietnamese authorities should halt all legal action against Truong Duy Nhat and release him from prison immediately,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative. “As long as Vietnam jails journalists on spurious charges, the international community will not view the communist regime as a credible actor and partner.”

At the hearing, Nhat denied the charges against him and said he was the victim of political persecution, according to those reports. Nhat, a regular contributor to U.S. Congress-funded broadcaster Radio Free Asia, disappeared from Thailand in January, and then appeared in Vietnam, where in March he was sentenced to prison on charges of “abusing his position and power while on duty” as a reporter, as CPJ documented at the time.

Truong Thuc Doan, Nhat’s daughter, told CPJ via messaging app that Nhat would be moved to an undisclosed prison outside of Hanoi to serve his sentence. She said it was not immediately clear whether he could file another appeal. The court did not comment on Nhat’s abduction in Thailand and arrest in Vietnam, she said. Police initially charged Nhat with illegally acquiring property, but later changed those charges after failing to find enough evidence to convict him, according to Radio Free Asia.

Vietnam’s Public Security Ministry did not respond to CPJ’s emailed request for comment.