Phan Thanh Hải

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Phan Thanh Hải
Born c. 1969
Nationality Vietnamese
Other names Anhbasg, Anh Ba Sai Gon
Known for dissident blogging, 2010 arrest
Awards Hellman/Hammett award (2011)

Phan Thanh Hải (born c. 1969[1]) is a Vietnamese dissident blogger. Blogging as "Anhbasg" or "Anh Ba Sài Gòn" at the website "Independent Journalists' Club", Phan discussed controversial topics including other dissidents, Vietnam's maritime border with China, and government corruption scandals.[2][1]

A lawyer by training, Phan was denied permission to practice due to his blogging and his involvement in protests. In 2007, he was arrested after a protest against the Beijing Olympics and later placed under police surveillance.[1]

In October 2010, he was arrested in Ho Chi Minh City and charged with disseminating anti-state information and materials, carrying a maximum sentence of twenty years' imprisonment; he later confessed to the charges. Fellow "Independent Journalists' Club" posters Nguyen Van Hai and Ta Phong Tan were also arrested.[2] Though their trial was scheduled to begin in August, it was delayed indefinitely after Ta's mother Dang Thi Kim Lieng immolated herself in front of the government offices in Bac Lieu province in protest of the trial.[3]

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights criticized the arrests, stating its concern for "what appears to be increasingly limited space for freedom of expression in Viet Nam".[4] In a July 2012 visit to Hanoi, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed concern for the detention of the three members of the Free Vietnamese Journalists' Club.[5] Amnesty International described the three bloggers as prisoners of conscience, "detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression through their online writings", and urged their release.[6] The International Federation for Human Rights and World Organisation Against Torture also released a joint statement calling on the Vietnamese government to release the three bloggers unconditionally.[7] In 2011, Human Rights Watch awarded him a Hellman/Hammett Award for "writers who demonstrate courage and conviction in the face of political persecution".[1]

On 4 October 2012, Panh Than Hai pled guilty and was sentenced to four years in prison in a one-day hearing The Economist described as looking "very much like an old-fashioned Soviet-style show trial".[8] Prosecutors stated that the three had "distorted the truth about State and Party, created anxiety among citizens and supported schemes to overthrow the government", while the court found that they were "seriously affecting national security and the image of the country in the global arena."[8] On the same day, Ta Phong Tan was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment, and Nguyen Van Hai, to twelve years.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Vietnam: Immediately Release Rights Bloggers". Human Rights Watch. 16 April 2012. Archived from the original on 18 August 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Vietnamese bloggers deny charges, third in leniency bid". BBC News. 16 April 2012. Archived from the original on 14 August 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  3. ^ "Mother of Vietnamese blogger 'burns herself to death'". BBC News. 30 July 2012. Archived from the original on 14 August 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  4. ^ "UN concerned at shrinking space for freedom of expression in Viet Nam". United Nations. 3 August 2012. Archived from the original on 14 August 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  5. ^ "Vietnamese blogger's mother sets herself on fire as daughter faces trial". The Guardian. Associated Press. 31 July 2012. Archived from the original on 14 August 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  6. ^ "Viet Nam: Halt crackdown on freedom of expression". Amnesty International. 7 August 2012. Archived from the original on 14 August 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  7. ^ "Viet Nam: Pro-democracy bloggers face harsh penalties in upcoming trial". World Organization Against Torture. 14 August 2012. Archived from the original on 14 August 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  8. ^ a b L.H. (4 October 2012). "Bloggers flogged". The Economist. Archived from the original on 30 October 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  9. ^ L.H. (4 October 2012). "Bloggers flogged". The Economist. Archived from the original on 30 October 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2012.