HANOI—Vietnam has jailed three more people for anti-government posts on social media platform Facebook deemed to defame the ruling Communist Party, state media and police said on Thursday, bringing the total imprisoned this month to five.
Despite its sweeping economic reforms and openness to social change, the party does not tolerate criticism, and its leader, Nguyen Phu Trong, has intensified a crackdown on dissidents and activists since being re-elected in 2016.
Pham Van Diep, a 54-year-old activist from the northern province of Thanh Hoa, was jailed for nine years for spreading “distorted information defaming the Communist Party and the Vietnamese government,” the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) said.
“He also spread fake and baseless news about the countrys policies, which caused Facebook users and residents to misunderstand the party and the government,” it added.
The posts were uploaded between April 2014 and June 2019, VNA said, adding that he had also been jailed for 21 months in Laos for spreading anti-Vietnamese regime literature there in 2016.
Separately, a court in the southern province of Dong Nai jailed a brother and sister on Thursday for a combination of 14 years on similar charges of anti-communist regime posts on Facebook, the provincial police said in a statement on its website.
A spokesman for rights group Amnesty International said previously that at least 16 people had been arrested, detained or convicted this year for anti-regime posts on Facebook. That figure does not include the three latest cases.
Another 12 political prisoners remain behind bars on similar charges, the spokesman said.
Climate of Fear
In the other cases this month, a music teacher was jailed for 11 years on Nov. 15 over anti-state posts on Facebook, and a 38-year-old man was jailed for broadcasting 33 live video sessions.
The broadcasts aimed to “encourage people to participate in protests during national holidays,” a court said.