The US Embassy, in Vietnam, on Wednesday, called on local authorities to release an activist after the woman was handed a 14-year jail sentence on a vague charge.
The US Ambassador to Vietnam, Ted Osius, expressed his concern after Tran Thi Nga was, on Tuesday, sentenced to nine years imprisonment and five years of house arrest for “anti-state propaganda.”
“The United States calls on Vietnam to release Tran Thi Nga and all other prisoners of conscience.
“They should allow all individuals in Vietnam to express their views freely and assemble peacefully without fear of retribution,’’ the U.S. ambassador said in a statement.
The Ha Nam Provincial People’s Court said the 40-year-old activist, who is a Vietnamese citizen, was charged with having “accessed the internet to post a number of video clips and articles” that were described as anti-state propaganda.
Nga was arrested on January 21 in her house.
She has campaigned against labour rights abuses, trafficking, police brutality and land confiscation, and has participated in environmental protests.
Vietnam has made some positive steps on human rights over the past few years, the statement said.
However, clampdown on dissidents has been “deeply troubling” since 2016.
Vietnam is a single-party communist state and has outlawed dissent against the government.
A 2016 Amnesty International report listed 91 prisoners of conscience in the country, but the government denies holding political prisoners. (NAN)