Vietnamese Human Rights Blogger Should be Immediately and Unconditionally Released

Me Nam is accused under Article 88 of the Penal Code, for “conducting propaganda against the state.”

Vietnamese authorities should immediately and unconditionally release human rights defender Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh, also known by her blogging pseudonym, Mẹ Nấm (Mother Mushroom), Amnesty International and Civil Rights Defenders said today. She is a prisoner of conscience, being held and tried solely for her peaceful activities promoting and defending human rights.

Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh is scheduled to appear for trial before the first instance People’s Court of Khánh Hòa province on 29 June 2017. She is accused of ”conducting propaganda” against the State under Article 88 of Viet Nam’s Penal Code and faces imprisonment of between three and 20 years if convicted. Her trial comes as Viet Nam’s human rights situation appears to be deteriorating, with increasing numbers of arrests, restrictions on freedom of movement, and intimidation and violence against human rights defenders and political activists, as well as suppression of freedom of expression rights generally.

We call on the Vietnamese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh. In addition, she should be provided the right to a remedy for her arbitrary arrest and incommunicado detention.

We further call on the Vietnamese government to amend the national security section of the Penal Code to bring it into line with international human rights law and standards. Finally, we urge the government to refrain from criminalizing and prosecuting people for peacefully expressing the right to freedom of expression and to respect and protect the right to a fair trial.

Download the statement in full here.