Vietnamese blogger who vanished in Thailand jailed in Hanoi

Blogger Truong Duy Nhat, center, stands trial at a local People’s Court in the central city of Da Nang on March 4, 2014 file photo. Nhat fled to Thailand in January and applied for refugee status, but ended up in a Hanoi jail. (Vietnam News Agency/AFP)
Updated 21 March 2019
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Vietnamese blogger who vanished in Thailand jailed in Hanoi

  • Truong Duy Nhat fled to Thailand in January and applied for refugee status with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees
  • His employer and family lost contact with him soon after

HANOI: A Vietnamese blogger who vanished in Thailand earlier this year is being held in a Hanoi prison, his friend and wife confirmed Thursday.
Truong Duy Nhat wrote weekly posts about politics and current affairs for Radio Free Asia (RFA) and last posted about the prospects for change in Vietnam in light of major anti-government demonstrations in Venezuela.
All independent media is banned in Vietnam and bloggers, activists and rights lawyers are routinely jailed. The one-party state has seen an uptick of arrests under a hard-line leadership in charge since 2016, with nearly 60 put behind bars last year according to an AFP tally.
Nhat, 55, fled to Thailand in January and applied for refugee status with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, according to RFA.
His employer and family lost contact with him soon after and he has not been heard from since. The UN said does not comment on individual cases.
Nhat’s friend Pham Xuan Nguyen said he visited Hanoi’s T-16 jail on Wednesday and received confirmation Nhat was being held there.
“I took Nhat’s wife to the jail yesterday. I saw the book the jail gave to her to register future visits,” he said Thursday.
“Inside the book, the date of his arrest was written January, 28 2019 ... it said that he was transferred to the jail the same day,” he said, adding that they did not see Nhat.
The blogger’s wife Cao Thi Xuan Phuong confirmed the account to AFP, declining to comment further.
His daughter Truong Thuc Doan, who lives in Canada, said she believes he was taken from Thailand against his will.
“It’s clear that my father did not voluntarily go back to Vietnam,” she told RFA.
The circumstances of Nhat’s return have not been confirmed by Hanoi and he has not yet been formally charged.
This is Nhat’s second prison stint. He was jailed for two years in 2014 for “abusing democratic freedoms” after writing blogs critical of Vietnam’s communist leadership.
Hanoi has in the past forcibly returned corruption suspects, including a former state oil executive kidnapped by Vietnamese security agents from a Berlin park in 2017.
Last year a fugitive spy was sent back from Singapore to face trial for divulging state secrets.


French court upholds ruling against beIN Sports in favor of Arabsat

Updated 19 September 2019

French court upholds ruling against beIN Sports in favor of Arabsat

  • Arabsat also said it had received “unprecedented financial compensation” from the Qatari-owned network

The Arab Satellite Communications Organization (Arabsat) said on Thursday that a French court had upheld an earlier ruling dismissing allegations by beIN Sports.

Arabsat also said it had received “unprecedented financial compensation” from the Qatari-owned network, which was imposed by the court, after its appeal was rejected.

“This clearly proves the falsehood of claims and vindicates Arabsat’s position against these irresponsible accusations,” Arabsat said.

The court case relates to accusations from beIN Sports that Arabsat facilitated illegal satellite broadcasts from a piracy network known as “beoutQ”.

In its statement, Arabsat rejected allegations made against it this week by FIFA and other football federations “which contain disgraceful repetitions of the beIN network’s claims.”