Vietnam jails Internet critic for four years

A lawyer in Vietnam has been jailed for four years for posting articles on the Internet which criticised the government's...

A lawyer in Vietnam has been jailed for four years for posting articles on the Internet which criticised the government's handling of a border dispute with China.

Le Chi Quang was arrested at an Internet cafe in the capital Hanoi in February and charged with "propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam" under Article 88 of the country's criminal code.

Between April 2001 and February 2002, Quang published several articles on the Internet, the most prominent being an article called "Beware of the Northern Dynasty", which dealt with three border agreements signed in 1999 and 2000 between Vietnam and China, under which Vietnamese territory was ceded.

The government-run Vietnam News Agency said, "Quang was caught red-handed on 21 February while posting on the Internet documents with content against the Vietnamese state. Investigators seized self-made documents with their contents distorting the [Communist] Party and government's guidelines and policies."

Amnesty International has called for Quang's release, saying he had been jailed for "peaceful exercise of his fundamental rights to freedom of expression and association".

Vietnam recently issued regulations for people wanting to publish information on the Internet in Vietnam, including the need to obtain a licence from the Ministry of Culture and Information beforehand and to identify clearly on each Web site all the people who have contributed material.

Read more on IT legislation and regulation

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