Vietnam jails high-profile environmentalist on tax evasion

Vietnam jails high-profile environmentalist on tax evasion

Vietnam jails high-profile environmentalist on tax evasion

Vietnam jails high-profile environmentalist on tax evasion

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  • Vietnamese environmental activist Nguyen Ngoc Khanh sentenced to two years in prison for tax evasion.
  • 46-year-old was arrested in February “on a tax evasion accusation,” according to state-run media.
  • Activist convinced officials to strip 20,000 megawatts of coal power from national energy plan by 2030.
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A High profile environmentalist and anti-coal campaigner in Vietnam has been sentenced to two years in prison for tax evasion, According to her NGO

Nguy Thi Khanh, a well-known climate and energy activist, was sentenced on Friday in Hanoi, a court official confirmed to AFP without providing further details.

The 46-year-old, who was arrested in February “on a tax evasion accusation,” according to state-run media, was one of the few in the communist country who questioned the government’s plans to increase coal power to fuel economic development.

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Khanh, the first Vietnamese winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize, had convinced officials to strip 20,000 megawatts of coal power from the national energy plan by 2030.

“From her contribution to Vietnamese society and her works, the verdict given to Khanh was too harsh,” her environmental NGO GreenID told AFP, referring to the two-year sentence for tax evasion charges.

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Michael Sutton, the Goldman Environmental Prize executive director, called for Khanh’s release.

“We believe that the legal charges leveled against her are part of a wider effort to silence environmental leaders in Vietnam,” said Sutton.

Prior to her detention, Khanh had said she wanted Vietnam to scale back its ambitious coal plans in favor of more renewable energy options.

Read More: Vietnamese suspect in Cold War-style abduction sent to Germany

In a 2020 interview with AFP, she acknowledged the risks of her activism.

“When we got global recognition, vested interest groups recognized who their enemy is, and they are very powerful,” she said.

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Khanh’s arrest comes as raids on corrupt officials and those involved in economic scandals have increased.

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