FAR EAST CORRESPONDENT — Vietnamese justice can be swift as well as ferocious, as three bloggers discovered almost as soon as they came before the People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City, charged with having made propaganda against the state. Their case has upset Western governments and infuriated human-rights groups.
Panh Than Hai, who used to blog under the alias of Anh Ba Saigon, is to be jailed for four years after pleading guilty and promising to end all contact with “anti-state people”, whoever those may be. Ta Phong Tan, whose mother died after setting herself on fire in protest against her daughter’s detention, was sentenced to ten years. Nguyen Van Hai, a 60-year-old whose case was cited in a complaint by Barack Obama, was handed a 12-year sentence.