Vietnam jails fifth climate activist on tax charges

One of Vietnam’s best-known climate activists has been sentenced to three years in prison over tax evasion.

Hoang Thi Minh Hong is the fifth Vietnamese activist to be jailed over the charge.

Campaigners say it is part of a state-authorised move to silence criticism of the country’s climate policies.

Hoang Thi Minh Hong was convicted on Thursday in Ho Chi Minh City in a trial that lasted just three hours. She was also fined $4,100 (£3,380).

Human rights groups say this was a preordained outcome to a politically-driven case. They point out that activists have been treated more severely than other people held on tax evasion charges, being detained and denied access to lawyers.

NGOs in Vietnam have long existed in a legal “grey zone”, where there are no specific requirements for them to pay tax on donations from overseas.

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Jonathan Head