Ottawa, February 05, 2013 – Senator Thanh Hai Ngo expressed his deep concern today about the recent court sentences of 22 members of an outlawed Buddhist sect to lengthy prison terms ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment.

The 22 activists were harshly accused by the People’s Court in the central province of Phu Yen for writing documents vilifying the communist regime and were found guilty of attempting to overthrow the government.

“These shocking sentences are another blow against Vietnamese human rights,” said Senator Ngo. “We must condemn this disturbing crackdown on dissent by the members of the Communist Party of Vietnam who continue to arbitrarily arrest peaceful activists.”

These cruel punishments are part of an escalating trend in the communist authoritarian state, which has triggered growing international concern. Last January, 14 peaceful activists and journalists were unfairly convicted for participating in “propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.”

According to the Human Rights Watch, Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Nguyen Tan Dung, made a commitment to crackdown online dissent in December 2012, asking authorities to fight against anyone using the Internet to “defame and spread propaganda against the party and state.”

For more information, please contact:
Office of the Honourable Thanh Hai Ngo
613-943-1599
ngoth@sen.parl.gc.ca