They said he was spreading anti-state propaganda.
Blogger Nguyen Van Hoa was handed a seven-year prison sentence by a court in Vietnam for reporting on the aftermath of one of the country’s worst environmental disasters.
Hundreds would get sick as a result of eating fish that had been swimming in cyanide-tainted water. The chemical spill originated with the factory Formosa Ha Tinh Steel, while simultaneously threatening the livelihoods of workers in the fishing and tourist industries.
In addition to writing about the spill and ensuing protests, Hoa produced videos in the wake of the disaster that began when the Taiwan-owned steel plant sent cyanide, carbolic acids and other deadly toxins out into the South China Sea, reaching 120 miles of coastline, The New York Times reports.
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The 22-year-old was arrested in April for disseminating material critical of Vietnam’s one-party government before his brief trial that ultimately ended in a guilty verdict.
After admitting to flushing its chemicals into the water, Formosa Ha Tinh Steel agreed in July 2016 to pay $500 million to compensate for the 70 tons of fish that were killed off and the devastating effect the spill had on the tourism sector.
Joining Hoa behind bars is fellow blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, who was sentenced to 10 years for similar charges in June.
Quynh wrote about the Formosa spill as well as other issues such as Chinese economic influence in the country, including the controversial construction of a Beijing-backed bauxite mine.
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According to Human Rights Watch, over 105 people are in prison for criticizing the government and engaging in protests.
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