HANOI, Vietnam: The lawyer for prominent social commentator Le Van Dung has reported that a Vietnamese court rejected his appeal of a five-year prison term for making videos criticizing the state.
The Hanoi People's High Court rejected the appeals of Le, 52, of a March ruling sentencing him for making online videos that were deemed to have offended "the honor and prestige" of the ruling Communist Party and state leaders.
The Vietnamese Communist Party, while adopting sweeping economic reforms and increasingly open to social change, continues to censor the media and does not tolerate criticism.
According to Human Rights Watch, which is monitoring the case, Le, who goes by the name, "Le Dung Vova," regularly used social media platforms to comment on Vietnam's social and political issues and demand reforms.
"He admitted at the appeals trial that he had made those videos, but argued that he did not mean to conduct propaganda against the state," said his lawyer, Dang Dinh Manh, as quoted by Reuters.
Later this month, the court is expected to hear appeals from at least three other Vietnamese who were jailed on similar charges, he added.
They include dissident writer Pham Doan Trang, who is serving a nine-year sentence and was granted a prize for courage by U.S.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken in March.