A Vietnamese Catholic blogger has failed in her attempt to overturn a 10-year prison sentence for writing “anti-state reports”.
Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, 38, better known as ‘Me Nam’ (Mother Mushroom), is a member of the US-based activist group Viet Tan, which funded one of her environmental campaigns. Her blogging has won her several international honours, including the 2017 International Women of Courage award.
After her initial sentencing in June, Quynh said: “Every person has only one life. But if I had to replay my life, I would still have done the same thing. I believe my mother and children will never feel sorry for me but be proud of me.
“I want to build a good society. People can only be happy and free when they enjoy freedom of speech and expression. I hope people will continue the struggle and overcome their fears to build a better country.”
Her lawyer, Le Cong Dinh, a fellow Catholic, said: “I am really surprised by the 10-year sentence that shows the government’s inhumanity to a single young mother. I did not realise what a state of panic the ruling party is in.”
Vietnam has faced repeated criticism from human rights groups for its treatment of bloggers – among them many Catholics.
Last year Amnesty International said Vietnam had the highest number of prisoners of conscience in Southeast Asia. And last month a group of 17 NGOs wrote an open letter to the attendees of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, calling for the release of all detained bloggers and human rights activists, including Quynh.