Vietnam court upholds prominent blogger’s 10-year jail term

Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, known as “Me Nam” (Mother Mushroom), who gained prominence for blogging about environmental issues and deaths in police custody, was found guilty in June for distributing what police called anti-state reports.
Updated 30 November 2017
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Vietnam court upholds prominent blogger’s 10-year jail term

HANOI: A Vietnamese court on Thursday upheld a 10-year jail sentence for a prominent blogger convicted of publishing propaganda against the state, her lawyer said, the latest move in a crackdown on critics of the one-party state.
Despite sweeping economic reform and increasing openness toward social change, including gay, lesbian and transgender rights, Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party retains tight media censorship and does not tolerate criticism.
In recent months, it has targeted critics whose voices have been amplified by social media in a country that ranks among Facebook’s top ten, in terms of users.
Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, 37, known as “Me Nam” (Mother Mushroom), who gained prominence for blogging about environment issues and deaths in police custody, was found guilty in June for distributing what police called anti-state reports.
A court in the central city of Nha Trang upheld Quynh’s sentence, one of her lawyers said.
“This sentence is not objective and is unfair,” Ha Huy Son said by telephone. “Quynh said she is innocent and she carried out her right as a citizen.”
Vietnam’s state news agency confirmed the appeal outcome.
Quynh’s mother said she was among those outside the court protesting against the verdict when plainclothes policemen approached and beat them.
“The police beat me repeatedly,” Nguyen Tuyet Lan, the mother, said, adding that police detained three activists. Reuters was unable to reach police for comment.
In March 2009, Quynh spent nine days in police detention for receiving funds from Viet Tan, a California-based activist group which Vietnam calls a terrorist group, to print T-shirts with slogans against a major bauxite project, police said.
She has also spoken out against a subsidiary of Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics that caused one of Vietnam’s biggest environmental disasters in April.
A US diplomat in Vietnam said she was “deeply troubled” that the court upheld Quynh’s conviction.
“The US calls on Vietnam to release Ms. Quynh and all prisoners of conscience immediately, and to allow all individuals in Vietnam to express their views freely and assemble peacefully,” Caryn McClelland, the US chargé d’affaires, said in a statement.
New York-based Human Rights Watch called the appeals hearing a farce.
“The proceedings were a farce, with the judge simply going through the motions before issuing the harsh verdict predetermined by the ruling communist party, upholding her long prison sentence,” said Phil Robertson, the group’s deputy director for Asia.


Russia targeted by almost 25 million cyber-attacks during World Cup: Putin

Updated 16 July 2018
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Russia targeted by almost 25 million cyber-attacks during World Cup: Putin

MOSCOW: Russia was the target of almost 25 million cyber-attacks during the World Cup, President Vladimir Putin said, though he did not indicate who may have been behind the attacks.
“During the period of the World Cup, almost 25 million cyber-attacks and other criminal acts on the information structures in Russia, linked in one way or another to the World Cup, were neutralized,” Putin said during a meeting on Sunday with security services.
The president, whose comments were reported by the Kremlin on Monday, gave no information on the nature or possible origins of the cyber-attacks.
“Behind this (World Cup) success lies huge preparatory, operational, analytical and information work, we operated at maximum capacity and concentration,” said Putin.
Russia, which hosted the World Cup from June 14 to July 15 in 11 cities and 12 stadiums, has been repeatedly accused by Western countries of conducting cyber-attacks.
On Friday, 12 Russian military intelligence officers were charged with hacking Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic Party in a stunning indictment three days before President Donald Trump meets with Putin in Helsinki on Monday.
The charges were drawn up by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the former FBI director who is looking into Russian interference in the November 2016 vote and whether any members of Trump’s campaign team colluded with Moscow.