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Vietnam condemns criticism

HANOI (SE): A court in Vietnam sentenced Nguyen Van Hoa, a blogger and advocate for human rights, to seven years in prison on December 4 on a charge of conducting propaganda against the state.
 
The prosecution claimed he tried to incite protests over the government handling of the devastating toxic waste spill by the Formosa Plastics Group in Ha Tinh province in April last year.
 
The industrial spill killed about 115 tonnes of fish and wiped out the fishing and tourism industries in four provinces.
 

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Religious leaders blocked from APEC surrounds

DA NANG (UCAN): People with an affiliation with unregistered Churches or religious groups were confined to their homes in Da Nang, Vietnam, for the duration of the gathering of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting that took place from November 6 to 11.
 
Hua Phi, a leader of the Cao Dai indigenous faith, said he was ordered by five security officers on November 4 not to leave his home until the APEC summit hadconcluded.
 

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Priest banned from travelling abroad

HANOI (UCAN): Redemptorist Father John Nguyen Ngoc Nam Phong, who is known for his human rights advocacy campaigns for social justice, has been barred from leaving Vietnam for national security reasons.
 
A Church person said that the priest from Thai Ha parish in Hanoi was stopped at Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport as he was checking in on a flight to Australia for study laave on June 27.
 

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Catholic blogger jailed in Vietnam

HANOI (UCAN): Mary Magdelene Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, a Catholic blogger known as Mother Mushroom, was sentenced to 10 years in prison by the People’s Court of Khanh Hoa province in Nha Trang City on June 29.
 
The roads leading up to the court were blocked while police lined the streets.
 
Nguyen, a co-founder of a network of bloggers, was found guilty of “conducting propaganda against the Communist government” under Article 88 of the Criminal Law. She was arrested on 10 October 2016.

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Harassment at Easter

HANOI (UCAN): Plainclothes officials in northwest Vietnam broke into the home of a Catholic family and attempted to take a priest into custody as he was preparing to celebrate Easter Mass.
 
More than 20 men and women, who identified themselves as local officials, barged into the house where around 100 people had gathered for Mass in the town of Muong Khuong, Lao Cai province.
 

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Courage of a woman jailed in Vietnam recognised