Vietnamese journalist Bui Hieu Vo is serving a sentence of four and a half years on anti-state charges under Article 88 of the penal code. His conviction was based on 57 posts on his Facebook page, which judges ruled had fabricated information, provoked public unrest, and disrupted social order, according to news reports.
Vo, known as "Hieu Bui" on his Facebook page, was arrested on March 17, 2017, in the Go Vap district of Ho Chi Minh City, the commercial capital, reports said.
The government announced on its official Facebook page that Vo had been detained on charges of “propagandizing against the state,” an anti-state offense outlined under Article 88 that is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, according to The 88 Project, an advocacy group that monitors the status of Vietnamese political prisoners.
The government statement also said Vo had "fabricated” and “distorted” information against the government, including incitement to violence against leaders of the ruling Communist Party, the state, and police.
Many dissident bloggers in Vietnam, where all traditional media is owned by the state, use Facebook as a platform to circumvent state censorship.
The government statement also claimed Vo was affiliated with the pro-democracy Viet Tan, an outlawed political party the government considers a terrorist group.
On May 9, 2018, in a one-day trial, the People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City sentenced Vo to four and a half years in prison, news reports said.
CPJ was unable to determine where Vo was being detained in 2021 and whether he was released on his due date of September 17. Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security, which oversees the country’s prison system, did not respond to CPJ’s emailed request for comment about Vo’s health and status in prison in late 2021.