Hanoi: A prominent Vietnamese blogger has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after being found guilty of distorting government policies and defaming the communist regime in Facebook posts and in interviews with foreign media, her lawyer was quoted as saying by UK daily the Guardian.
Her lawyer, Vo An Don, said Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, also known as “Mother Mushroom”, was sentenced at the end of a one-day trial in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa.
The conviction related to the content of 18 articles on her Facebook page and interviews with foreign news outlets such as Voice of America and Radio Free Asia.
Quynh, 37, co-founded a network of bloggers and is very popular in Vietnam. She has written about human rights, civilian deaths in police custody, and the release of toxic chemicals by a Taiwanese-owned factory that killed thousands of fish in one of Vietnam’s worst environmental disasters.
Don said that Quynh, the single mother of two young children, maintained her innocence throughout the trial, her lawyer said. Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh did not admit that she committed any crime, saying she has a right to freedom of expression.
Don said the sentence was “too harsh and unjust” and that Quynh plans to appeal against the verdict.
Quynh’s sentencing drew a stern rebuke from the United States, which said it was “deeply concerned” about her conviction and those of other peaceful protesters over the past year.
Quynh was arrested in October during a visit to a fellow activist in prison. International human rights groups including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Sweden-based Civil Rights Defenders have called for her immediate release.