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Vietnam arrests prominent human rights activist for ‘propaganda’

#Vietnam #arrests #prominent #human #rights #activist #propaganda

Vietnam arrested a prominent human rights activist on Tuesday and accused him of spreading anti-state propaganda.

Nguyen Lan Thang is known in the communist country for his social activism and online criticism of the government, which has become increasingly intolerant of dissent.

The 46-year-old was arrested at his home in Hanoi “for making, stockpiling, distributing and disseminating propaganda against the state of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam under Article 117 of the 2015 Criminal Code,” the capital’s police said in an official statement .

Officials gave no further details and said the case was under investigation.

Vietnam is notorious for its harsh treatment of positions that deviate from the official pro-government line.

Thang has endured short prison terms and harassment from officers in the past.

“I’m a focal point for the police,” Thang previously told the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Human Rights Watch on Tuesday called for his “immediate and unconditional release.”

“Vietnam’s outrageous and unacceptable crackdown on free speech has just got another victim, who invariably faces a trial and years in prison for speaking out,” said Asia Deputy Director Phil Robertson.

He added: “Thang’s peaceful advocacy of democratic reform and justice should be respected and listened to instead of facing this kind of unjustified repression.”

Social media reports claimed that authorities also confiscated digital devices and human rights-related books from Thang’s home during the arrest.

His family could not be reached for comment.

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#Vietnam #arrests #prominent #human #rights #activist #propaganda

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