Freedom of Association and Assembly / Protests
Vajnai v. Hungary
Closed Contracts Expression
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Nguyen Viet Dung, a resident of central Nghe An province, participated in a public demonstration in Hanoi against the government’s plan to cut down hundreds of trees across the city. He was wearing the army uniform of the former South Vietnam regime, which allegedly prompted his arrest by police. On December 14, 2015, a district court of Hanoi sentenced him to 15 months in prison after being charged with “causing public disorder.” According to Dung’s lawyer, the conviction “was only because he wore the uniform of the Republican Army, and he was behind the establishment of a group in support of that army.”
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Nguyen Viet Dung was one of hundreds participants in a demonstration at Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi on April 12, 2015. The demonstration was against the authorities’ plan to cut down hundreds of trees in Hanoi for the city’s development. Dung is infamous among social media users for wearing the military uniform of the former Republic of Vietnam, a U.S.-backed regime that was defeated by the communist party in 1975.
Dung was arrested at demonstration and was charged under Article 245 of the Vietnam’s Penal Code for “disturbing public disorder.” After serving eight months in jail, a district court of Hanoi sentenced him to 15 months imprisonment.
According to Dung’s lawyer, the conviction “was only because he wore the uniform of the Republican Army, and he was behind the establishment of a group in support of that army. He further described the case against his client as “politically sensitive.” Also, a critic of the ruling said that the conviction “expressed hatred of the Communist party towards the Republic of Vietnam,” even though the U.S.-backed regime was overthrown more than 40 years ago.
Decision Direction indicates whether the decision expands or contracts expression based on an analysis of the case.
Dung’s criminal conviction clearly contracts expression as he was arrested and sentenced to prison for participating in a public demonstration where he was wearing the military uniform of the former South Vietnam regime.
Global Perspective demonstrates how the court’s decision was influenced by standards from one or many regions.
Case significance refers to how influential the case is and how its significance changes over time.
Let us know if you notice errors or if the case analysis needs revision.