The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court sustained the original custodial sentences given to Nguyen Van Hai and Ta Phong Tan for “conducting propaganda against the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” at an appeal court on December 28.
Nguyen Van Hai will serve 12 years in prison and Ta Phong Tan 10 years. Phan Thanh Hai, another defendant in the case, had his prison sentence reduced from 4 years to 3 years. They will also be on probation for a further 3-5 years after their incarceration. The sentences were pursuant to Clause 2, Article 88 of the 1999 Criminal Code.
According to the Judging panel of the trial at the Ho Chi Minh People’s Court, the defendants were charged with “conducting propaganda against the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
As per the verdict, on Sep 2007, Le Xuan Lap (formerly worked at the representatives office in Ho Chi Minh City of Government Inspectorate Newspaper,) and some others, including defendant Nguyen Van Hai (blogger Dieu Cay, 60 years old, live in district 3) to establish "Club freelance journalist", designed by Lap as blog owner.
Then, the defendant Nguyen Van Hai automatically changed the password and ran the blog management.
Next, Nguyen Van Hai lured Phan Thanh Hai (blogger Anhbasaigon, 43 years old, living in Thu Duc District), Ta Phong Tan (blogger Truth and Justice, 42 years old, living in Bac Lieu province) to participate in club.
The three defendants set up the blog “the freelance journalists club” to write, disseminate and store documents distorting the Party and State to sow suspicions and erode people’s trust in the administration.