Pham Chi Thanh, a freelance Vietnamese journalist who blogs under the pseudonym Pham Thanh, was arrested on May 21, 2020, at his home in Hanoi, and charged under Article 117 of the country’s criminal code, a provision that criminalizes “opposing the state.”
Thanh is a member of the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam, a local unsanctioned independent press group, according to news reports and a representative from the journalists’ association, who asked to remain anonymous, citing security concerns.
On his independent blog, Thanh frequently writes about civil rights and freedom of speech, according to Rohit Mahajan, Radio Free Asia’s vice president of communications, who is familiar with Thanh’s case and communicated with CPJ by email.
Convictions under Article 117 carry jail terms of up to 20 years. A trial date had not been set in late 2020, according to the journalist association representative.
Thanh was being held in pretrial detention at Hanoi’s Hoa Lo Prison in late 2020, according to The 88 Project, an advocacy group that monitors the status of Vietnamese political prisoners, and the representative.
In late 2020, Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security, which oversees the country’s prison system, did not respond to CPJ’s emailed requests for comment about Thanh’s status and health in prison.