IBTimes UK

A Vietnamese court has sentenced a prominent blogger to five years in prison for allegedly publishing anti-state articles.

The jailed blogger, former policeman Nguyen Huu Vinh, is the son of a late government minister and was running the popular blog 'Ba Sam', which had attracted several million page views.

Nguyen and his assistant Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy were detained in 2014 and were accused of abusing democratic freedoms to attack the state. This offence is punishable by up to seven years in prison under Vietnamese laws.

The bloggers have been in jail since their arrest. The assistant was awarded a three-year jail term.

The court ruled that several articles published by the blogger "distorted the lines and policies of the party and law of the state and vilify individuals".

Nguyen told the curt he was completely innocent.

Who is Nguyen Huu Vinh?

The former police officer with the Ministry of Public Security in Hanoi quit service in 1999 to establish as a private investigation agency.

Nguyen's father was an influential government minister and the country's ambassador to Soviet Union.

He set up the Ba Sam blog in 2007 and was popularly known as Anh Ba Sam. The blog offered a mixture of news and commentary, BBC's Vietnamese service said.

At the start of the trial, the state media had said his articles presented a one-sided and pessimistic view, causing anxiety and worry, and affecting the people's confidence in the party and government.

Vietnam's single party communist government has often been criticised for jailing dissidents, free thinkers and bloggers.

The Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch had called for the release of the 59-year-old blogger. "The trial and continuing detention of a blogger and his assistant who have already spent almost two years in jail is farcical and a blight on the country's human rights record," Amnesty said earlier this week.

IBTimes UK