Appeal court upholds jail time for five bloggers

first_img Vietnam sentences journalist Tran Thi Tuyet Dieu to eight years in prison May 23, 2013 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Appeal court upholds jail time for five bloggers Follow the news on Vietnam Receive email alerts News News RSF laureates support jailed Vietnamese journalist Pham Doan Trang RSF_en News Help by sharing this information to go furthercenter_img Three more independent reporters arrested in Vietnam VietnamAsia – Pacific VietnamAsia – Pacific News April 27, 2021 Find out more April 22, 2021 Find out more A court in the northern city of Vinh on today ruled on the appeals by five bloggers – Ho Duc Hoa, Paulus Le Van Son, Nguyen Van Duyet, Thai Van Dung and Tran Minh Nhat – against their long jail terms, upholding the existing sentences for three of them and reducing the sentences of the other two.“Even if the appeal court reduced Son’s sentence by a considerable amount, it is still unacceptable and reflects the government’s determination to reduce all dissidents to silence,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The charges brought against these five bloggers were and continue to be a complete lie. None of them ever tried to overthrow the regime. We continue to demand their release.”Son’s sentence was reduced from 13 years in prison to four, while Duyet’s was reduced from four years to three and a half. The sentences of the other three (13 years for Hoa, and four years for Dung and Nhat) were confirmed. Follow-up probation periods of three to five years were also confirmed.During the hearing, each of the defendants criticized the harshness of their sentences and insisted they never intended to overthrow the government.Son became extremely upset during the hearing on learning that his mother had died a few months ago. He had not previously been told this. In his final words, spoken just before the judge issued his ruling, he asked to be forgiven for his “errors” and requested a milder sentence so that he could go home and care for his mother’s grave.Until then he had been the only defendant to refuse to ask for forgiveness. Dung, for his part, said: “If this country is democratic, I will be acquitted by this appeal court.”As at the original trial, the atmosphere at today’s hearing was very tense. Yesterday, the police asked bus owners to refuse to drive relatives of the defendants to the appeal court. State-owned bus companies also suspended their usual services.The tension around the courthouse increased when around 2,000 policemen began mingling with the estimated 500 people who turned up to support the five bloggers. Mobile phones were unable to find a network connection anywhere near the courthouse.Two bloggers, Bui Minh Hang and La Viet Dung, were arrested before reaching the courthouse. Tran Thuy Nga, a land rights activist who had come to support the five bloggers, was also arrested.A policeman responsible for security hit the netizen Tu Anh Tu in the chest as he approached the court. On his Facebook page, Tu said he had not been hurt by the blow but by the fact that he had been targeted by officials who are supposed to serve the people. He also criticized the government’s passive stance on Vietnam’s territorial disputes with China. The five bloggers were accused of having links with Viet Tan, a pro-democracy party based in the United States that is banned in Vietnam and regarded as a “terrorist” organization by the government. The appeals of three young activists who were tried with the five bloggers were also heard yesterday.On 16 May, a court in Long An sentenced two young bloggers, Dinh Nguyen Kha and Nguyen Phuong Uyen, to eight and six years in prison respectively, followed by three years of house arrest.According to the indictment, there were accused of maintaining contact via Facebook with a Vietnamese dissident now living abroad, who urged them to join the “Patriotic Youth,” a group that the authorities call “reactionary.” Organisation April 7, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Attorney General Faces Potential Suspension Of Law License

first_imgBy Emily KettererTheStatehouseFile.comINDIANAPOLIS –– Attorney General Curtis Hill could face a two-year suspension of his license to practice law over allegations that he drunkenly groping four women in a bar last year.The Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission filed documents Monday calling for the suspension of Hill’s license without automatic reinstatement, stating his actions “cannot be brushed off as simply boorish behavior or overlooked as a misunderstanding of intent.”If the Supreme Court agrees and suspends Hill’s license, it would put in jeopardy not only Hill’s re-election campaign in 2020 but his ability to remain as attorney general at all. Indiana law requires that the attorney general must be “duly licensed to practice law in Indiana.”Hill has repeatedly denied the allegations and resisted calls for resignation from Republican party leaders, including Gov. Eric Holcomb.“I can’t imagine he would be able to continue as attorney general if his law license is suspended for two years,” said Allison Martin, clinical professor of law and legal ethics expert at the Indiana University McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis.The recommendation by the Disciplinary Commission comes almost two months after Hill’s four-day disciplinary hearing. The attorney general is accused of ethical violations over allegations he made unwanted contact and sexual advancements to four women––one state representative and three Statehouse staffers––at an Indianapolis bar after the end of the 2018 legislative session.The commission concluded in its report that Hill shows a “lack of remorse,” and his actions were “deliberate,” “intentional” and established “a lack of restraint.” The Commission also said in the report that the events were “not the result of a one night of overindulgence but fit into a pattern of sexually inappropriate behavior.”As attorney general, the commission stated, Hill “should be seeking to protect victims of sexual assault, not creating them or blaming them.”In response, Hill’s lawyers are calling for a dismissal of the disciplinary case, saying the party that night was crowded.“In such environments, there tends to be some degree of physical contact between individuals,” they wrote. “The amount of physical contact a particular person is comfortable with is highly variable from person to person.”Hill’s attorneys also said the commission has no reason to call for suspension because the alleged criminal contact has “nothing to do with the practice of law,” and a special prosecutor appointed to look into the case declined to file criminal charges last year.The Disciplinary Commission, though, said the allegations do reflect adversely on Hill’s “honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness of a lawyer,” and harm public perception of him.Former state Supreme Court Justice Myra Selby presided over the hearing, and she will determine a recommendation for discipline, if any, to the Indiana Supreme Court. No timeline for the Supreme Court to make its decision has been released.FOOTNOTE: Emily Ketterer is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more