Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, known as Mother Mushroom, on trial in the city of Nha Trang. Photograph: Vietnam News Agency/EPA
Bennet Murray reports at The Guardian about Vietnamese blogger who goes by the name of Mother Mushroom.
The 37-year-old was accused of defaming Vietnam’s communist regime in her blogs and interviews with foreign media.Read more here.
Arrested in October while attempting to visit another dissident in prison, Quynh, 37, has already spent nine months behind bars, in what her lawyer said were desperate conditions.
She subsisted only on a diet of anchovies and spinach soup for the first seven months, and was denied both sanitary pads and underwear, Vo An Don said.
...Vietnam is infamous for its limits on freedom of expression, yet Mother Mushroom’s detention and unusually lengthy sentence raised fresh alarm among the country’s blogging community, which avoids the censorship of state-control print media. The US state department quickly called for all prisoners of conscience to be released immediately.
While Quynh has been branded a “reactionary” by the state for her anti-government blogging, her friends and family defend her as a champion of free expression in a country where dissent against single-party rule is outlawed.
...Quynh has since become a prominent figure outside Vietnam, and has championed efforts in Vietnamese civil society to hold political discussions on Facebook. The government has become so angered by the movement that it has called on all companies in Vietnam to stop advertising on YouTube and Facebook.
...In March the US first lady, Melania Trump, awarded Quynh the International Women of Courage Award, which Vietnam said “was not appropriate and of no benefit to the development of the relations between the two countries”.
...Quynh’s mother, Lan, is now tasked with raising her two grandchildren while their mother remains in prison. Unless the state grants Quynh clemency the children will grow up parentless.