Vietnam jails teacher for 11 years over Facebook posts

Nguyen Nang Tinh denies the charges, saying the Facebook account posting 'anti-state' material belonged to someone else.

    Facebook has said it had increased the amount of content it restricted access to in Vietnam by more than 500 percent in the last half of 2018 [File: Stephen Lam/Reuters]
    Facebook has said it had increased the amount of content it restricted access to in Vietnam by more than 500 percent in the last half of 2018 [File: Stephen Lam/Reuters]

    A court in Vietnam has jailed a music teacher for 11 years for a series of posts on Facebook that the government said were "anti-state".

    Nguyen Nang Tinh, 43, was accused of "making and spreading anti-state information and materials" in a one-day trial on Friday at the People's Court in the northern-central province of Nghe An, according to Nguyen Van Mieng, Tinh's lawyer.

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    Mieng said his client denied the accusations, saying the offending Facebook account did not belong to him. 

    "The prosecutors stuck to the idea that the Facebook user named Nguyen Nang Tinh and my client Nguyen Nang Tinh are the same person."

    Tinh, who teaches music at a provincial college, was arrested in May after he was found writing and sharing anti-state posts and videos on his Facebook account, the police said in a statement.

    Late last month, a 54-year-old architect was jailed for 12 months over accusations he uploaded anti-state posts to his Facebook account, police said in a separate statement on the department's website.

    Facebook is widely used in Vietnam and serves as the main platform for both e-commerce and dissent. In January, Vietnam accused Facebook of violating the law by allowing users to post anti-government comments.

    The US social media giant said in May that it had increased the amount of content it restricted access to in Vietnam by more than 500 percent in the last half of 2018.

    "Nguyen Nang Tinh is the latest in a long line of dissidents targeted for posting information and criticism on Facebook," John Sifton, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch said in a statement on Thursday, ahead of the trial.

    Tinh would be placed under house arrest for five years after serving his jail term, his lawyer said.

    SOURCE: Reuters news agency