Tran Thi Nga, 40, will appear in court one month after fellow rights activist Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, also known as “Mother Mushroom,” was sentenced to 10 years in prison under article 88 in a one-day trial. …Tran Thi Nga’s arrest is part of Vietnam’s ongoing crackdown on bloggers and activists who have been charged with vaguely interpreted national security violations. …Tran Thi Nga is a longtime labor rights activist who has fought against abuses including trafficking, police brutality, and land confiscation. She has participated in environmental protests, attended trials of bloggers and activists, and visited the houses of political prisoners to show solidarity. She served as an executive board member for Vietnamese Women for Human Rights (VNWHR), founded in November 2013.
In a June 2017 report, Human Rights Watch documented 36 cases of bloggers and activists being intimidated, threatened, and beaten by thugs… Human Rights Watch also found that some victims such as Tran Thi Nga were later arrested under article 88, raising the question of the authorities’ ties to the assailants. In addition to arresting activists for their online activity under national security laws, the government has blocked Facebook access during large-scale protests and pressured multinationals to pull advertising from the social media sites.
“The Vietnamese government consistently goes to extremes to silence its critics, targeting activists like Tran Thi Nga with bogus charges that carry a long prison sentence, and subjecting their families to harassment and abuse,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Foreign donors should use their leverage to push for Tran Thi Nga’s release now, and make it clear that closer relations depend on Vietnam tolerating its critics, rather than sending them to prison.”