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  • Writer's pictureDahlia Foundation

Vietnam jails environmental activist for three years over tax fraud

Vietnam has sentenced prominent environmental activist Hoang Thi Minh Hong to three years in prison on tax fraud charges.

The state-run Thanh Nien newspaper said Hong, the founder of CHANGE, a now-defunct environmental campaign group, was convicted after a one-day trial in southern Ho Chi Minh City.

She was found guilty of dodging nearly $275,000 in taxes related to CHANGE, her lawyer Nguyen Van Tu told the AFP news agency.

“This conviction is a total fraud, nobody should be fooled by it,” said Ben Swanton, co-director of The 88 Project charity.

“This is yet another example of the law being weaponised to persecute climate activists who are fighting to save the planet.”

The United States and a number of human rights groups had expressed their concerns about Hong and the crackdown on CHANGE when she was arrested in June.

In response to Thursday’s decision, rights group Amnesty International urged Vietnam to end its crackdown on environmental defenders.

“This verdict is a self-inflicted wound on Viet Nam’s ability to tackle one of the most seismic issues of our time,” Ming Yu, Amnesty’s deputy regional director for campaigning, said in a statement, urging the international community to condemn the decision and for Vietnam to drop all criminal charges against environmental activists.

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