ADC calls on the Vietnamese government to immediately and unconditionally end its relentless persecution of independent voices and release all those currently detained for the exercise of their right to freedom of expression.


The conviction of three leading Vietnamese human rights defenders in relation to their online advocacy signals the continuation of the Vietnamese government’s repressive campaign against independent voices, said ARTICLE 19. Vietnamese authorities should immediately and unconditionally release Pham Doan Trang, Trinh Ba Phuong, Nguyen Thi Tam, and all other arbitrarily detained human rights defenders.

“These three convictions are unacceptable acts of reprisal against courageous rights defenders and part of a nefarious campaign to silence and intimidate anyone who speaks out against government abuse,” said Matthew Bugher, ARTICLE 19’s Head of Asia Programme. “The Vietnamese government is clearly allergic to criticism and routinely reacts by jailing independent journalists and others who use social media to document and disseminate information about its failures.”

On 14 December 2021, the Hanoi People’s Court convicted Pham Doan Trang under Article 88 of the 1999 Penal Code, which criminalises the ‘making, storing, distributing or disseminating information, documents and items against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.’ The court sentenced her to nine years’ imprisonment.

In a statement released ahead of her trial, Pham Doan Trang wrote, ‘The longer the prison sentence, the more demonstrable the authoritarian, undemocratic, and anti-democratic nature of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.’

Authorities arrested Pham Doan Trang on 7 October 2020, less than a month after five UN Human Rights experts raised concerns about the harassment of independent writers and journalists in Vietnam, including against Pham Doan Trang. She was held incommunicado for over a year before being allowed to meet with her lawyer on 19 October 2021. Court documents indicate that she was targeted for writing about human right issues and meeting with foreign journalists.