Vietnamese journalist Phan Bui Bao Thy was arrested by police in central Da Nang city on February 10, 2021, on accusations of “abusing democratic rights and freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State” under Article 331 of the penal code. His trial at the People’s Court of Quang Tri Province began on October 29, according to reports.
At the time of his arrest, police officers in Da Nang city confiscated data related to Thy’s online activities, state media reports said. The charges claim that Thy and his associate, Le Anh Dung, allegedly posted original commentary, photos, and videos on several pseudonymous Facebook pages that accused provincial leaders of corruption, news reports said.
One of the Facebook pages those news reports cite as being run by Thy and Dung, “Quang Tri 357,” which had about 2,300 followers before it was deactivated, featured posts accusing Quang Tri provincial leaders of misusing funds meant for local infrastructure and property projects.
Another article posted on Facebook accused Le Quang Than, deputy chairman of Quang Tri’s Huong Hoa district, of falsifying his educational credentials, the U.S. Congress-funded Radio Free Asia reported.
If convicted of violating Article 331 of Vietnam’s criminal code, Thy could face up to seven years in prison.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security, which oversees the country’s prison system, did not respond to CPJ’s emailed requests for comment about Thy’s status and treatment in prison in late 2021.