Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court on January 8 sentenced Lo Thanh Thao to 42 months in prison and two years probation thereafter on charges of carrying out malicious propaganda against the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
According to the indictment, early in 2010, 35-year-old Thao from Dong Nai Province befriended Nguyen Thi Nhi from the US on the Internet.
In October 2010, Nhi returned to Vietnam and Thao received a telephone, a laptop, US$490 from Nhi. Nhi assigned Thao ‘the task’ of distributing leaflets with content that was anti government.
On March 20 last year, Thao transported 2,000 leaflets from Dong Nai Province with the aim of spreading them around Thu Thiem Bridge and Binh Thanh District in Ho Chi Minh City. However, she lost her nerve in doing the job and instead dumped the package at the foot of the bridge.
Four days later, on March 24, she managed to spread leaflets in District 1 and filmed her work which she emailed to Nhi.
On March 26, following instructions from Nhi , Thao went to Le Duan Street in District 1 to film the mass demonstration against the land conviction case but failed.
Nhi again called Thao to go to the People’s receiving office in HCMC of the Party Central Committee and the Government Office that is located in Binh Tan District.
While shooting the crowd of people complaining at the gathering in a restricted area, Thao was detected and arrested by Binh Tan District police.
In court, Thao pleaded guilty and said she hopes to receive leniency from the Party and State.