A court in central Vietnam jailed a prominent environmental blogger on Tuesday for 14 years for abusing his democratic freedom and opposing officials on duty, his lawyer said. Vietnamese activist Hoang Duc Binh, commonly known as Hoang Binh, led several protests against authorities over the handling of a major environmental disaster caused by a steel plant being developed by Taiwan's Formosa Plastics Corp in 2016. Despite sweeping economic reform and increasing openness towards social change, including gay, lesbian and transgender rights, Vietnam's ruling Communist Party retains tight media censorship and does not tolerate criticism. Binh received two seven-year prison sentences for "abusing democratic freedoms to infringe state interests" and for "opposing officials on duty," while a fellow activist Nguyen Nam Phong received a two-year term, their lawyer Ha Huy Son told Reuters by telephone. "Binh said he was innocent, while Phong asked for a reduction of the sentence ... The...
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