Vietnam jails pro-democracy, press freedom blogger on accusations of anti-state activities

Vietnam jailed a prominent dissident writer and blogger hours after holding talks with the United States on human rights.

Pham Doan Trang was detained in Ho Chi Minh city late on Tuesday and accused of carrying out anti-state activities.

Ms Trang is an advocate for democracy, press freedom and the rule of law in Vietnam.

Vietnam’s one-party communist state frequently jails its critics. There was no immediate comment from the US.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have demanded her immediate release.

Ms Trang has been charged with “making, storing, disseminating or propagandising information, materials and products that aim to oppose the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam”, state media report.

Such charges carrying jail terms of up to 20 years.

Earlier this year, Ms Trang stopped working for an independent book publisher, citing police harassment, heightened state abuse and the abduction of colleagues.

With the growing importance of social media, the internet has become a vital platform for dissidents in a country which tightly controls its press.

The 24th annual US-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue was held for three hours on 6 October and “addressed a wide range of human rights issues”, the US state department said on its website.

“The promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms remains a critical pillar of US foreign policy and is key to further building upon the US-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership,” it added.