Authorities in Vietnam arrested activist Le Minh The for allegedly posting “illegal content” on his Facebook page, in violation of a vaguely worded law routinely used to suppress independent bloggers and journalists.
The was charged with “abusing the rights to freedom and democracy to violate the State’s interests and legitimate rights and interests of organizations and individuals” under Article 331, state media reported.
International human rights organizations have said Article 331 and other vaguely written and arbitrarily applied laws are tools for the government to silence dissenting voices and restrict freedom of speech.
The, born in 1963, completed a two-year jail term for the same charge in July 2020, the state media report said.
Authorities did not specify what the illegal content on his Facebook account was, but his most recent post was about U.S. President Joe Biden visiting Ukraine on Tuesday.
Other posts on the account were information, images, and videos about Vietnam, a police summons issued to Le Thi Binh – The’s younger sister, to discuss her livestream videos, Vietnam’s VinFast electric cars, and a recent RFA report about an ex-con former fortune-teller who was ordained as a Catholic priest under seemingly shady circumstances.
The indictment for The’s previous violation in 2019 said that he contacted and exchanged information “with inside and outside reactionary forces on social media platforms” in hopes of inciting them to join demonstrations and topple the Vietnamese government.
Translated by Anna Vu. Edited by Eugene Whong.