South East Asia

Vietnamese Christian activist jailed “propaganda”

Maria Trần Thị Nga with her two children. Photo credit: www.asianews.it

A Vietnam Christian human rights activist has been jailed for nine years for “propaganda against the state”.

Christian mother of two, Maria Trần Thị Nga, faces nine years in jail and a further five years of house arrest, after her appeal against her conviction for “propaganda against the state” was unsuccessful.

Known for her work defending the rights of Vietnamese migrant workers and victims of government land seizures, she was attacked by unknown assailants and left seriously injured in 2014, and later arrested in January 2017. Ahead of her unsuccessful final appeal in the High Court on 22 December, Human Rights Watch called for the Vietnamese government to grant her immediate release. Nga’s lawyers insist there is “no legal evidence” to support the charges of which she has been found guilty.

Vietnamese Christians are viewed with suspicion by the one-party state, particularly those who take a stand on human rights issues. They are also the targets of harassment by local officials. Last month, Christians in Nghe An Province gathered to protect a nativity scene, which local officials had ordered to be removed.