Dissident Vietnam blogger ‘Mother Mushroom’ released, relocated to the US

Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, center, known by her pen name Mother Mushroom, attends her appeal trial at a local people’s court on November 30, 2017 in the central coastal city of Nha Trang. (AFP)
Updated 17 October 2018
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Dissident Vietnam blogger ‘Mother Mushroom’ released, relocated to the US

  • Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh was freed from jail Wednesday and put on a flight en route to the US
  • Officials did not give an official reason for relocating her

HANOI: A dissident Vietnamese blogger known by the pen name ‘Mother Mushroom’ was on her way to the United States Wednesday after being released from prison where she was serving 10 years for anti-state propaganda, multiple sources said.
Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh was freed from jail Wednesday and put on a flight en route to the US to join her children and mother, a US embassy source, friends, and a Vietnam official said.
“Quynh was sent to the US earlier today,” a Vietnamese government official confirmed, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Family friend Nguyen Lai said on Facebook “congratulations” to Quynh, adding she would soon be in a “free country.”
Quynh, one of Vietnam’s most well-known activists whose recognizable pen name “Me Nam” comes from her daughter’s nickname “mushroom,” was jailed in June 2017 in a case that drew ire from the US, the EU and the UN.
She is an outspoken critic of Vietnam’s one-party state and gained notoriety with her writing about the environment, politics and deaths in police custody — a no-go topic in communist Vietnam.
Quynh became a cause celebre and received an International Woman of Courage Award in 2017, presented to her in absentia by US First Lady Melania Trump.
She was arrested in October 2016 after visiting a fellow activist in prison and even from jail she remained steadfast in her opposition to the communist government.
Her family said she held several hunger strikes in jail, most recently in July when she stopped eating for two weeks, according to the 88 Project, a political prisoner watchdog.
Earlier this year she was moved from a jail in her home province of Khanh Hoa to a prison hundreds of kilometers away, a move her relatives objected to because it made it harder to visit her.
Officials did not give an official reason for relocating her.
Quynh’s daughter also wrote an emotional letter addressed to Melania Trump.
Washington has developed strong ties with Vietnam to counterbalance a rising China and has come under fire for putting issues of free expression and human rights on the backburner, especially in Vietnam.
But Quynh’s release came as US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visited the country for the second time this year, fueling speculation of a goodwill gesture from Vietnam’s leadership.


Arab News women driving cover wins further recognition in DNA Paris Design Awards

Updated 22 May 2019
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Arab News women driving cover wins further recognition in DNA Paris Design Awards

  • Arab News scooped the awards for its front page by “New Yorker” illustrator Malika Favre, which was published to mark the move to allow women in Saudi Arabia to drive
  • It has won numerous awards since its publication and been one of the most retweeted artworks celebrating women driving in the Kingdom

LONDON: Arab News has continued its success on the international awards stage by winning two honorable mentions at the DNA Paris Design Awards.

The newspaper scooped the awards for its front page by “New Yorker” illustrator Malika Favre, which was published to mark the move to allow women in Saudi Arabia to drive.

The honorable mentions were for the categories “Graphic design - Editorial” and “Graphic design - Key art (Posters, covers, illustration).”

"For Arab News to be recognised again on a global scale with this award is a great honor," Simon Khalil, global creative director at Arab News, said. “Our women drivers cover has been recognised with eight design awards so far and this highlights just how important this moment in history was for women across the Kingdom.

 “Malika Favre was the obvious choice for our cover, and her illustration brilliantly captures the significance of this moment on the day Saudi Arabia changed forever."

The illustration was commissioned by Arab News for the cover of a special souvenir edition on June 24 of last year. It has become one of the most retweeted artworks celebrating women driving in the Kingdom.

The cover has won numerous awards since it was published. In March, it was recognized by SND awards, one of the most prestigious in the industry.

In February, the cover image was recognized in the international design awards run by “HOW” magazine.

The DNA Paris Design Awards honors international architects and designers “who improve our daily lives through practical, beautiful and innovative design,” according to its website.