The People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City on January 5 sentenced Pham Chi Dung to 15 years in prison for making, storing, and spreading information, documents, and items for the purpose of opposing the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
After serving his sentence, he will be placed under home probation for three years and must return all illegal earnings from writing stories for and being interviewed by foreign media outlets in an attempt to change Vietnam’s political institutions.
Dung’s two accomplices - Nguyen Tuong Thuy and Le Huu Minh Tuan - were sentenced to 11 years in jail each on the same charges.
|The defendants at the court (Photo: VNA)
Authorised agencies concluded that the contents of 25 stories from Dung, five from Thuy, and six from Tuan distorted and defamed the people’s administration and fabricated information to harm the prestige of the Communist Party of Vietnam and undermine the Vietnamese State.
Dung was identified as the mastermind. According to the indictment from the HCM City People’s Procuracy, he founded a so-called “Hoi nha bao doc lap Viet Nam” (Vietnamese independent journalists’ association) and established the “Vietnam Thoi Bao” (Vietnam Times) website and blog to publish propaganda and distorted information on the policies of the Party and laws of the State.VNA
The board of judges said the acts of the defendants are extremely serious and dangerous to society as they abetted malcontents and political opportunists in eroding the people’s trust in the Party and State and caused public concern. They were deemed to have deliberately committed the crimes.
Dung was arrested by HCM City's police on October 21, 2019, while Thuy was detained on May 23, 2020 and Tuan on June 12, 2020.