Reporters Without Borders condemns the Vietnamese public security ministry’s arrest of Hong Le Tho, a Vietnamese blogger of Japanese origin, in Ho Chi Minh City for posting “bad content and incorrect information that reduce trust in state agencies.”
Hong Le Tho was arrested on 29 November for posting an article critical of the ruling Communist Party on his blog “Nguoi Lot Gach” (“brick-layer”), which dealt mainly with political issues. The authorities seized his laptop, his mobile phone and USB flash drive, and closed the blog shortly after his arrest (see cached version).
Aged 65, he is facing a possible three-year jail sentence under article 258 of the criminal code for “abusing democratic freedoms to attack state interests and the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and/or citizens.”
“The authorities has been waging an all-out campaign of repression for several years,” said Benjamin IsmaÃ¯l, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Asia-Pacific desk. “We urge them to stop gagging dissidents and to repeal criminal code article 258, which should not be used against any defender of freedom of information.”