A Vietnamese man was given a 15-month suspended sentence for using Facebook to demand for the release of his brother from jail. He was convicted under Article 258 that prevents citizens from “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State, the legitimate rights and interests of organizations” (source). His brother was sentenced to four years in jail for handing out leaflets that criticized the Hanoi government’s position on the Spratly Island dispute.
This was the first time a prominent social network was specifically mentioned in an indictment. “As for the verdict, I think it is absurd and I have decided to appeal,” said the 30-year-old to Radio Free Asia. Vietnam is currently running for a seat on the Human Rights Council with elections set for November 12, but is ranked 172 of 179 in the 2013 Reporters Without Borders press-freedom index.
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