Global Freedom of Expression

The Case of Nguyen Viet Dung (Vietnam)

Closed Contracts Expression

Key Details

  • Mode of Expression
    Non-verbal Expression
  • Date of Decision
    December 14, 2015
  • Outcome
    Imprisonment
  • Case Number
    N/A
  • Region & Country
    Viet Nam, Asia and Asia Pacific
  • Judicial Body
    First Instance Court
  • Type of Law
    Criminal Law
  • Themes
    Freedom of Association and Assembly / Protests
  • Tags
    Demonstration, Imprisonment

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Case Analysis

Case Summary and Outcome

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.”

Columbia Global Freedom of Expression notes that some of information contained in this report was derived from blogs, bulletin boards, and other similar online sources. Such information may not have been verified, but it should be noted that in countries in which the media or access to the media, including the Internet are controlled by the government blogs can be a reliable source of information.


Facts

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.


Decision Overview

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

Quick Info

Decision Direction indicates whether the decision expands or contracts expression based on an analysis of the case.

Contracts Expression

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

Quick Info

Global Perspective demonstrates how the court’s decision was influenced by standards from one or many regions.

Table of Authorities

National standards, law or jurisprudence

  • Viet., Crim. Code art. 245

Case Significance

Quick Info

Case significance refers to how influential the case is and how its significance changes over time.

This case did not set a binding or persuasive precedent either within or outside its jurisdiction. The significance of this case is undetermined at this point in time.

Official Case Documents

Official Case Documents:


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