Three Vietnamese bloggers have been charged in a case of using their blogs to spread "anti-government propaganda." The claims have alleged evidence of over 400 posted articles.
Nguyen Van Hai, Phan Thanh Hai, and Ta Phong Tan have all been state-charged, The Associated Press has reported on Monday in a case that alleges the popular bloggers used their blogs to spread anti-government propaganda. The local paper Ho Chi Minh City Law has reported that over 421 articles on the three accused bloggers' blogs of distorting the truth of the Vietnamese government as well as inciting anti-government thinking and opposing the State.
The three bloggers are now awaiting trial, and if found guilty could face up to 20 years in prison. All three bloggers are part of a group known as the Free Journalists Club, an organization that Nyugen Van Hai and Phan Thanh Hai founded, which is outlawed in Vietnam as all newspapers are state-run.
The bloggers have also been accused of attending a "nonviolent" training course in 2008 which was sponsored and organized by the Viet Tan, a "Vietnamese overseas political party," reports say. The Viet Tan are considered a terrorist party by the state and also outlawed.
Nguyen Van Hai and Ta Phong Tan have denied all charges, while Phan Thanh Hai is requesting leniency after admitting to the charges, reports BBC News.
Phan Thanh Hai's blog covered several government-sensitive issues on his own blog and was arrested in October 2010. Nyugen Van Hai was originally arrested for tax evasion in 2010 and was to be released after 30 months, but, the new charges have kept him detained since. Ta Phong Tan covered the corruption of the police in Vietnam in her blog before being arrested.
All three bloggers are well known for their writings in Vietnam and internationally. Nyugen Van Hai has even received the Hellman Hammett award because of his writings, which have faced major prosecution, as well as being a war veteran.
Phan Thanh Hai participated in the protests during the Beijing Olympics, and was detained numerous times afterward for questioning since the protest and for his writings under pen names "Anhbasg" and "Anh Ba Sai Gon."
Ta Phong Tan was a former police officer and even a former communist party member. She became a freelance journalist in 2004 and was even published on the behalf of BBC in their Vietnam satellite as well as numerous local papers. She has published well over 700 articles on social issues concerning Vietnam and its government, on top of police corruption.