Vietnam police release gossip blogger on bail

Jan 21, 2011

Hanoi – Vietnamese authorities have granted bail to a popular society blogger who has been detained for three months, after she admitted a defamatory blog post, police said Friday.

Le Nguyen Huong Tra, also known as Co Gai Do Long, had ‘just got bail,’ said Major General Cao Minh Nhan, deputy director of the General Department of Anti-Crime Police.

Tra was arrested in October on charges of defamation after describing a senior official’s son as a womanizer linked to underworld figures.

Her family told the German Press Agency dpa that she had arrived home, but refused further comment.

In a blog post dated October 21, Tra wrote that Nguyen Khanh Trong, a police officer and son of Deputy Minister of Public Security Nguyen Khanh Toan, had been romantically linked to several models and actresses, and was ‘respected’ by gangsters.

The post also contained a link to a copy of a letter of complaint from a ministry official on another website, which alleged that Trong was a drug addict, and denouncing Toan for using his influence to secure a job for his son.

Tra’s blog post quickly disappeared, but copies were archived and available on other websites.

Police said Friday that there was no further need to detain Tra, as the allegations had been proved wrong, and she had admitted defamation. No further details were provided on which of the allegations were disproved, or who was said to have been defamed.

No date for trial was set, and the authorities said that they were still compiling the dossier.

Vietnam has imprisoned numerous bloggers in recent years, mainly for political offences.

Phan Thanh Hai, a member of an independent journalists’ organization, was arrested last October.

Another member of the group, Nguyen Van Hai, was arrested in 2008 and sentenced to 30 months in prison on charges of tax evasion.

His sentence expired on October 20, but police have not released him. At the end of October they said they were considering charging him with ‘spreading propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,’ but have not provided any further information since then.

Source:  MonsterandCritics

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