Government prepares case against famous blogger

Me Nam antagonised the authorities with her involvement in the Formosa protests

The government has extended the detention of the acclaimed blogger Me Nam (Mother Mushroom) and formally charged her with three offences related to her writing.

Me Nam, whose real name is Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, has been held in detention since October last year and been denied access to lawyers and family members.

Her mother told foreign based reporters that her detention had been extended for another two months.

The authorities confirmed that she had been charged under three acts of Article 88 of the penal code – accused of defaming the government, causing confusion among the public, and circulating anti-state documents.

The blogger developed a reputation as an independent commentator over many years before her arrest, although she was subjected to periodic bouts of intimidation.

She was finally arrested last October when a large contingent of police swooped on her home in the southern coastal city of Nha Trang.

The action was seen as a warning to other independent writers who have been demanding answers over the government’s handling of last year’s environmental disaster off the central coast.

The Communist authorities have been attempting to silence dissent over the leak from the Formosa steel plant.

Me Nam was named an “International Woman of Courage” by the US State Department in March, seen as the latest in a series of protests by foreign governments and organisations about her treatment.

She could face a prison sentence of up to 12 years on conviction.

The authorities have given no indication as to when she will be brought to trial.