Vietnam arrests prominent environmentalist on tax evasion charges

Prominent Vietnamese environmentalist Nguy Thi Khanh is the latest activist in the country to be arrested on tax evasion charges, state media reported this week.

Khanh, who is the first Vietnamese ever to win the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 2018, was arrested last month in her home in Hanoi. State media did not confirm her detention until Feb. 9. Authorities searched her office and home and confiscated documents and several devices.

Khanh won the Goldman for her work with the Green Innovation and Development Center, an organization she founded which promotes sustainable development in the Southeast Asian country.

Her advocacy for green energy sometimes puts her crosswise to the Vietnamese government, which wants to increase the production of coal, the burning of which is a major contributor to climate change.

Two other activists were sentenced last month tax-related charges.

Dang Dinh Bach, leader of the Law and Policy of Sustainable Development Research Center, was sentenced to five years for tax evasion, while journalist Mai Phan Loi, who heads the Center for Media in Educating Community, received four years for tax fraud. Both were arrested in June 2021.

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The Paris-based Vietnam Committee on Human Rights said in a statement that the arrests of Bach and Loi were intended to prevent the creation of the Vietnam Domestic Advisory Group, which would have enabled activists to be independent civil society representatives in accordance with the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

Artmotion Asia

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