Vietnamese blogger released but forced into exile
Reporters Without Borders
January 10, 2020
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is extremely relieved by Vietnamese blogger Tran Thi Nga’s release after three years in prison but regrets that she has been forced to live abroad and that she will be cut off from her family.
Released on condition that she leave Vietnam immediately, Tran Thi Nga boarded a flight for the US city of Atlanta today with her two children, the SBTN news website said. The United States had granted her asylum.
After her arrest at her home in the northern province of Ha Nam in January 2017 for posting information about the situation of migrant workers , she had to wait five months before seeing her lawyer.
She was sentenced in July 2017 to nine years in prison followed by five years of probation on a charge of “anti-state propaganda” under the Vietnamese penal code's notorious article 88. She has always refused to recognize her guilt. She told her husband in August 2018 that she was being subjected to psychological torture, death threats and physical violence by fellow inmates and prison guards.
“We are deeply relieved to learn of the release of Tran Thi Nga, who was convicted at the end of a sham one-day trial, but it is unacceptable that she has been forced into exile and will not have the right to return to her country to see her family,”said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF's Asia-Pacific desk. “We urge Vietnam's trade partners, above all the United States and the European Union, to continue to press the Vietnamese authorities to release other unjustly detained bloggers.”
Long near the bottom of RSF's World Press Freedom Index , Vietnam is ranked 176th out of 180 countries in the 2019 Index.