Vietnamese Facebooker sentenced to 14 years behind bars for igniting protest

A Vietnamese man was given a 14-year prison sentence on Tuesday for abusing democratic freedom and assaulting police officers on duty. Hoang Duc Binh, 35, received seven years for “resisting people in the performance of their official duties”, and a further seven years for “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State and the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and/or citizens.” Binh joined hundreds of protesters on February 14 last year demanding justice from Taiwanese steel plant Formosa, the court in the central province of Nghe An said, as cited by the province’s official newspaper. According to the judges, Binh had prevented local police from maintaining order during the protest, which caused a tailback of around five kilometers. Nguyen Nam Phong, 38, who also took part in the protest, received a lesser sentence of two years because he was “sincere” during the trial, the court said. Binh, on the other hand, showed no remorse, it added. He deliberately manipulated the Formosa incident to ignite protests and sabotage public security, it said. Formosa was the culprit behind a severe toxic spill along Vietnam’s central coast in April 2016. During a test run, the  company discharged substances including phenol, cyanide and iron hydroxide into the sea,  polluting 200 kilometers (125 miles) of coastline and devastating economies dependent on fishing and tourism.  The incident has been described as the worst environmental disaster in the country’s history, and officials say it will take the region a decade to recover from…. [Read full story]


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