A Vietnamese online activist was released from prison on Wednesday and returned to his home in Khanh Hoa province after serving a three-year sentence for conducting propaganda against the state.
Nguyen Huu Quoc Duy had been arrested in 2015 along with his cousin Nguyen Huu Thien An after they were accused of using his Facebook page to incite others to oppose the government.
They were subsequently convicted under Article 88 of Vietnam’s penal code.
I called [Duy’s mother] and she told me he is expected home on the 27th when his sentence is up,” Nguyen Lai, a friend of the family, told RFA’s Vietnamese Service on Wednesday.
“Then she called this morning, but I was not able to answer the phone. I assume she wanted to tell me he made it home,” he said.
Nguyen Huu Quoc Duy’s mother confirmed Tuesday on Facebook that her son had returned home.
Nguyen was arrested on Nov. 21, 2015 after he blacked out his Facebook page and wrote “Forty years have passed, DMCS” [a four-letter abbreviation for an obscenity attacking Vietnam’s ruling communists], according to earlier reports.
The Aug. 23, 2016 trial for Nguyen and his cousin, who was given a two-year term, was closed to the public, with the defendants’ mothers barred from entry, sources said.
“No one could get in,” one activist in Nha Trang told RFA.
Police had blocked all access to the courthouse during the trial.
Article 88 carries a maximum penalty of 20 years' imprisonment for the ill-defined offense of spreading "anti-state propaganda." Human rights groups say Article 88 is used to imprison peaceful activists in the one-party communist nation.
Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Viet Ha. Written in English by Eugene Whong.