VIETNAM: The Article 258 and Human Rights War

YVONNE EPPS WRITES- It’s Throwback Thursday and, while other people are throwing back to their embarrassing baby pictures, one mother throws back to the summer where she lost her two sons to Article 258.

The mother of arrested blogger, Dinh Nhat Uy, is urging several media outlets, including Voice of America, to cover his public trial on October 29th, but with good reason! Uy will be the first to be prosecuted publicly under Vietnam’s new Article 258, which punishes violators for “abusing freedoms to infringe upon the state.” While he is first to test the waters, his predecessors have been arrested on the grounds of Article 258, but not yet charged. Back in June, the state reported his crime on ThanhNien as slander to damage the country’s reputation and rights of citizens, but did he really abuse his freedom?

Uy is the third blogger to be arrested within a month, following the arrest of Truong Duy Nhat and Pham Viet Dao under Article 258. He is also the brother of Dinh Nguyen Kha, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for sharing anti-State propaganda. What the state doesn’t want you to know is that Uy was primarily critical of his brother’s sentence as described by Voice of America and Human Rights Watch. The issue has been tossed around by human rights organizations, where Human Rights Watch calls for Uy’s release and fights against the state’s needless war on dissent and peaceful criticism. Vietnam, who really is playing the role of criminal in this game of Cops and Robbers: the people or the state?

After losing two sons to the system’s machine, what mother wouldn’t want to expose the problem to the media. Human rights groups are zeroing in on Article 258, but this isn’t the time to throwback and relax. It’s time to step forward, but the outcome of this trial will tell us if Vietnam is willing to step forward with us.

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