France condemns Vietnam for jailing prominent blogger
Blogger Truong Duy Nhat (C) stands trial at a local People's Court - AFP/File

PARIS: France on Wednesday condemned Vietnam for jailing a prominent blogger and journalist, Truong Duy Nhat, who posted articles critical of Hanoi’s Communist government.

The foreign ministry in Paris issued a statement saying it “deplores” Nhat’s incarceration on Tuesday, saying it went against freedom of expression.

Nhat, 50, was found guilty of “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe on the interests of the state” at a half-day trial in his native city of Danang on Vietnam’s central coast. He was sentenced to two years behind bars.

The United States has also said it was “deeply concerned” by the sentence and called for the release of Nhat “and all prisoners of conscience”.

In Vietnam, lawyers, bloggers and activists are regularly subject to arbitrary arrest and detention, according to rights groups.

Private media are banned in the country with all newspapers and television channels state-run, but many citizens access news through blogs and social media.

Reporters without Borders said Vietnam was second only to China in the number of bloggers it detained, with at least 34 currently behind bars.

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