Nguy Thi Khanh is a global icon in the fight against climate change. She founded an NGO, the Green Innovation and Development Centre (GreenID), to promote renewable energy in Vietnam. She has also established a network of eleven Vietnamese and international governmental organizations that collaborate on regional energy issues.
For all of her work, she has received several international awards including, in 2018, the prestigious “Goldman Environmental Prize,” the equivalent of a Nobel Prize for the environment. However, her notoriety has exposed her to increasing harassment and scrutiny from her opponents, via state media and online smear campaigns, for simply exercising her right to free speech by taking a public stance in favor of renewable energy.
On June 17, 2022, she was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment on trumped-up charges of tax evasion by the Vietnamese authorities, on the grounds that she had not paid taxes due on the sum she received from the Goldman Environmental Prize. The judicial authorities denied the link between her conviction and her climate change activities. However, Nguy Thi Khanh’s arrest is part of a wave of arrests of leaders of environmental NGOs such as GreenID.
Moreover, a public statement by her husband indicates that she was unaware of her obligation to pay these taxes at the time and that she has since acknowledged this failure to pay at her trial, stating that she was prepared to pay them. In addition, it does not appear that she was represented by a lawyer at her trial, in violation of international fair trial standards. The governments of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and France have unanimously and publicly condemned this decision.
She has since posted a message on her Facebook page announcing her release, emphasizing the “infinite happiness” of being back with her family, of being able to “hug her loved ones after sixteen months of isolation“. She also thanked “all those who have shared [her situation] and helped her personally and [her] family for the past year and a half”. We are delighted to hear this news and continue to support her in her actions.
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