Vietnam jails environmental activist for three years for tax fraud | Environment News

Adeyemi Adeyemi
Adeyemi Adeyemi

Global Courant

Rights groups have condemned the verdict against a prominent campaigner on issues including climate change and environmental degradation.

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

State-run newspaper Thanh Nien 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.

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

“This conviction is a total fraud and no one should be fooled by it,” said Ben Swanton, co-director of the charity The 88 Project.

“This is yet another example of the law being used to prosecute climate activists fighting to save the planet.”

The United States and some human rights groups had raised concerns about Hong and the crackdown on CHANGE when she was arrested in June.

Before the trial, Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged the Vietnamese government to drop all charges against Hong.

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“Vietnamese authorities are using the vaguely worded tax law as a weapon to punish environmental leaders seen by the ruling Communist Party as a threat to their power,” Phil Robertson, HRW deputy Asia director, said in a statement.

“The government should stop punishing activists for peacefully advocating action on climate change and green policies, and drop the case against Hoang Thi Minh Hong.”

Hong, 51, founded CHANGE in 2013 to address issues related to climate change, pollution and endangered wildlife.

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She received international recognition for her campaigns, but abruptly closed the organization in October 2022.

Vietnam jails environmental activist for three years for tax fraud | Environment News

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