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Vietnam: Formosa activist faces 14-year imprisonment for documenting Formosa chemical spill

Author: Mongabay, Published on: 12 February 2018

"Vietnamese activist gets 14-year sentence for documenting chemical spill", 08 February 2018

...[A] Vietnamese court sentenced Hoang Duc Binh to 14 years in prison for activism related to a chemical spill that resulted in a massive fish kill in 2016. The sentence appears to be the harshest so far in a series of punitive measures the Vietnamese government has taken against citizens protesting or blogging about the spill.

“Hoang Duc Binh was convicted of abusing democratic freedoms to infringe on the interests of the state, organization and people and opposing officers on duty, lawyer Ha Huy Son said,”...

News reports gave conflicting accounts of the exact activities that landed Binh in trouble with authorities. The Associated Press reported that Bihn had livestreamed video of fishermen marching to file a lawsuit over the spill. “During last February’s livestream on Facebook, Binh commented that the fishermen were stopped and beaten by authorities. Son said Binh told the court that he made the comments, but he denied committing a crime because what he said was true. The court said his comments were untrue and slandered authorities,”...

However, Reuters reported that Binh had led a number of protests against the government over its handling of the spill.

At the same trial another activist, Nguyen Nam Phong, was sentenced to two years in prison for “opposing officers on duty,”...

In April, 2016, a spill at the Taiwanese-owned Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Company sent toxic chemicals into the ocean, littering 125 miles (200 kilometers) of Vietnam’s north-central coastline with an estimated 70 tons of dead fish...and fishermen in four provinces were left without work.

...The company has since admitted fault and agreed to pay $500 million to clean up the environment and compensate people affected by the spill...

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Related companies: Formosa Plastics