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Vietnamese activist arrested for tax evasion

Vietnamese activist arrested for tax evasion

Image source: © canva
Weronika Paliczka,
28.09.2023 12:45

Vietnamese activist Hoang Thi Minh Hong was sentenced to three years in prison over tax evasion. According to human rights activists, the Vietnamese authorities aim at silencing campaigners criticising the country’s climate policies.

In Vietnam, authorities continue to arrest climate activists for tax evasion. One of Vietnam's most popular environmental activists Hoang Thi Minh Hong was sentenced to three years in prison. She was also fined US $4,100, the BBC reports.

Over the past two years, five of Vietnam's most prominent climate campaigners were arrested and brought to court. Each of them was charged with tax offences.

Vietnamese government’s actions to frighten off more activists

According to human rights watchdogs, the Vietnamese government has imprisoned five activists in order to deter and discourage more people who want to engage in pro-climate activities. The detention and conviction of Hoang Thi Minh Hong is expected to send a clear message to critics of the Vietnamese government.

The arrested people did not have access to lawyers, which human rights activists claim is indicative of severe treatment. The sixth individual, Ngo Thi To Nhien, executive director of the Vietnam Initiative for Energy Transition, was arrested in mid-September. It is currently unclear what charges will be brought against the detainee.

In early 2023, two of the six arrested activists, Guy Thi Khanh and Mai Phan Loi, were released from prison. The release was not accompanied by any comment, so it is uncertain why the authorities decided to release the women. The fate of other activists, however, is not to be envied. Dang Dinh Bach, another activist who remains in prison, was recently attacked. It is unknown in what conditions he is.

Surprising Vietnamese government's actions

According to many reports, Vietnam is one of the countries most vulnerable to the impact of climate change. As a result, the its government decided to pursue an ambitious goal: they plan to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2050. This target is enshrined in law and backed by a National Climate Change Strategy.

The arrested activists include those who were involved in the creation and finalisation of the Just Energy Transition Partnership deal. This is an agreement between developed and developing countries in which the former provides funding for the latter to transition to green energy.

The United States is one of the main countries involved. Critics of the current situation in Vietnam wonder why Joe Biden continues to support the agreement, despite activists being silenced.

Source: BBC

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