The People’s Court of southern Dong Nai province on February 12 announced the verdicts for three defendants facing charges of “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State, the legitimate rights and interests of organisations and/or citizens” according to Article 258 of the Penal Code.

The accused are Pham Minh Vu, 22, from central Quang Tri province; Do Nam Trung, 33, from northern Nam Dinh province; and Le Thi Phuong Anh, 30, from Hanoi.

Vu was given 18 months in jail while Trung was handed 14 months behind bars and Anh received 12 months.

According to the provincial People’s Procuracy, from 2012 to mid-May of 2014, the defendants allegedly abused their democratic rights to freedom of speech, freedom of gathering, the right of appeal, and the right to use the internet to post articles with distorted information about the Party and State via their facebook and “Hoi yeu nuoc” (patriotic association) and “Hoi anh em dan chu” (democratic brotherhood association) websites.

The defendants also took advantage of China’s illegal placement of its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf to stimulate wide-spread social disorder among Vietnamese workers.

On May 15, 2014, they were arrested by local police while taking photos and filming riots and disturbing public order at the provincial Amata industrial park.-VNA