Hanoi, Nov 20 (IANS) A Vietnamese activist will be tried on Thursday for insulting the national flag, which is punishable in the country with up to three years in prison, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Tuesday.
In a statement, HRW called on Vietnamese authorities to drop the charges against Huynh Thuc Vy, who will be tried in a court in Buon Ho, Dak Lak province, reports Efe news.
The day before Vietnam’s National Day in September 2017, Huynh splashed the national flag with white paint to protest against the government and posted a photo on Facebook along with a message calling for human rights to be respected.
Last August, Buon Ho police interrogated Huynh and two months later sent the case to the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
“For years, Vietnam has sought any excuse to punish Huynh Thuc Vy for her tireless advocacy of human rights and democracy, and in their desperation, the authorities have now latched on the splattering of a flag with white paint,” said Phil Robertson, Deputy Director of HRW Asia.
“It is wrong to put protecting a national symbol first over protecting the rights of the nations’ people,” Robertson added.
Huynh, a political blogger and defender of democracy, formed the Vietnamese Women for Human Rights NGO in 2013.