The first-instance trial of journalist Pham Doan Trang ended at the end of the afternoon on December 14 with a 9-year prison sentence for her for "conducting propaganda against the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam", as prescribed at Article 88 of the Penal Code 1999.
- Title: Hanoi court sentenced freelance journalist Pham Doan Trang to 9 years in prison
- Publish Date: December 14, 2021
- Publisher: BBC News Vietnamese
Speaking to BBC News Vietnamese right after the trial, lawyer Ngo Anh Tuan, one of the defense lawyers for Ms. Doan Trang, said:
"The representative of the Procuracy suggested 7 to 8 years in prison. The trial panel sentenced him to 9 years in prison. They pronounced this sentence not against the law. Previously, the trial panel only pronounced within the framework proposed by the Procuracy, but according to the new law. Now, they have the right to declare higher than the proposal of the Procuracy."
When asked whether the lawyers and Ms. Pham Doan Trang were able to present enough arguments in the trial, lawyer Tuan briefly said, "incomplete".
The Vietnamese media said, "The prosecution assessed that Pham Thi Doan Trang's anti-corruption activities seriously affected security and order, causing anger and anger among the public and the people."
On his personal Facebook page, lawyer Dang Dinh Manh, one of Pham Doan Trang's defenders in court today, wrote:
"Talking to us at the detention center the day before the trial, perhaps 90% of Ms. Pham Thi Doan Trang will decide to appeal the first-instance judgment."
Pham Doan Trang was arrested on the day of the end of the two-day Vietnam-US human rights dialogue, October 6-7, 2020.
During more than a year in detention, Ms. Pham Doan Trang only met her lawyer once on October 19, 2021 and never met her family.
Lawyer Ngo Anh Tuan recounted his exchange with Ms. Doan Trang on October 19, 2021 on his personal Facebook:
"In 10 times, she was pressured but she refused to answer and asked for a new lawyer to declare but was not accepted;
During the working process, Ms. Trang did not cooperate, did not confess and never confessed, so if there is a clip of confession released in any form, it means that it was cut, not correct. the truth."
What does the international say?
After the trial, Phil Robertson, Deputy Asia Director, Human Rights Watch, issued a statement saying:
"It is infuriating that Pham Doan Trang was sentenced to 9 years in prison just for expressing his views and defending his beliefs."
"The imprisoning of a reformer dedicated to promoting human rights, good governance and justice is a stinging indictment."