|A screenshot of a video showing Nguyễn Phương Hằng, 52, former director of Đại Nam JSC, livestreaming on her social media account. She has been sentenced to three years in prison for “abusing freedoms and democratic rights” to slander celebrities. — VNS Photo Bồ Xuân Hiệp|
HCM CITY — The HCM City People’s Court has handed a three-year prison sentence to Nguyễn Phương Hằng, former director of Đại Nam JSC, for “abuse of freedoms and democratic rights,” after finding her guilty of slandering various individuals.
On Friday (September 22) the court also sentenced Đặng Anh Quân, a lecturer at the HCM City Law University, to two years and six months, and Hằng’s employees Nguyễn Thị Mai Nhi, Lê Thị Thu Hà and Huỳnh Công Tân to 18 months in jail for spreading unverified information about the private lives of a number of people on social media.
According to the court, the defendants “infringed on the interests of the State, the rights and the legitimate interests of organisations and individuals,” especially celebrities and singers, by deliberately tarnishing their reputation and affronting their dignity.
Their actions also violated the “Law on Cybersecurity” and had “negative effects on public order and social security,” the judges ruled.
They also ordered the offenders to pay the victims restitution of VNĐ18 million.
According to the court, Hằng, 52, and her accomplices organised 57 livestream sessions on social media platforms in which they used derogatory language to attack the honour and dignity of various people.
She got Quân, the law lecturer, to participate in 11 of them to increase the credibility of her statements.
They were held at Hằng’s private residence in HCM City’s District 3 and at the Đại Nam Tourism Area in Bình Dương Province.
Hằng expressed remorse for her actions in court and stated her desire to continue charitable work and aid the poor.
Her husband, Huỳnh Uy Dũng, is the legal representative of a company based in Bình Dương.
The two are known for their extravagant lifestyles, but also philanthropic activities.
Hằng and her accomplices were arrested in March last year after ignoring several warnings from the police and continuing with the livestreaming.
They were sentenced under Article 331 of the Penal Code.
The court said it is necessary to impose stringent punishments to educate and deter others from engaging in similar behaviour. — VNS