Vietnamese influential climate activist Nguy Thi Khanh was jailed for tax evasion, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Thursday, refuting the rumor that she was criminally charged for her climate-related activities.
Khanh was sentenced to 24 months in prison for tax evasion during her trial at the Hanoi People's Court on June 17.
The investigation and hearing were carried out in line with the law, and the trial was held publicly, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang answered the questions from foreign media during a regular press meeting on Thursday.
The defendant had all her rights guaranteed in accordance with the law, Hang added.
Vietnam is determined to fight and strictly deal with violations of the law in accordance with regulations, the diplomat stressed, adding that all citizens are equal before the law.
Khanh was investigated and indicted for her economic offense, particularly breaking the rules on tax management, and she pleaded guilty.
Rumors that Khanh faced a criminal charge due to her activities and opinions related to climate change are groundless and not appropriate to the nature of this case, Hang underlined.
Vietnam is seriously committed to environmental protection, climate change response, and green and sustainable development, the spokesperson continued.
This has been clearly reflected in many legal documents and policies, including the country's commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) and participation in the Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement and the Leaders' Declaration on Forests and Land Use.
The Vietnamese government has been conducting frequent and widespread consultation to collect opinions from scientists, non-governmental organizations, and international partners about policies and laws on environmental and climate change issues.
Khanh, 46, was the founder and executive director of the Green Innovation Development Center (GreenID), prior to her arrest.
In 2018, she became the first Vietnamese woman to receive the Goldman Environmental Prize, an annual award for grassroots environmental activists.
GreenID is a not-for-profit science and technology organization aimed at contributing to sustainable development in Vietnam, according to its website.
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