Climate activist prosecuted for tax evasion pleads guilty: spokeswoman

Spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang provided more information about a woman recently found guilty of tax evasion, and rejected rumours she was penalised for climate change activities.

Speaking at the ministry’s regular press conference, Hang said the Hanoi People’s Court on June 17 held the first-instance trial and sentenced Nguy Thi Khanh to 24 months in prison for tax evasion under Article 200 of the Penal Code.

The investigation and hearing was carried out in line with law, the trial was held publicly, and the defendant had all her rights guaranteed in accordance with law, the spokeswoman noted.

“Vietnam adamantly fights against and strictly deals with law violations in accordance with legal regulations. All citizens are equal before the law,” she stressed, adding that Vietnam has carried out communications and education measures to gradually improve citizens’ awareness and respect for the law to build a law-governed state.

Hang reaffirmed that Vietnam always seriously and strongly commits to environmental protection, climate change response, and green and sustainable development, which has been clearly reflected in many legal documents and policies.

At the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh affirmed the country’s commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, reduce 30 percent of methane emissions that cause the greenhouse effect by 2030, and take part in the Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement and the Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use.

Vietnam is implementing comprehensive measures in energy transition towards green and circular growth. Its Government has been conducting frequent and widespread consultation to collect opinions from scientists, non-governmental organisations, and international partners about policies and laws on environmental and climate change issues. Contributions by the organisations assisting with environmental protection and green development in the country have been recognised, Hang said.

She said Nguy Thi Khanh was investigated and prosecuted for an economic offence which was breaking the rules on tax management, and she pleaded guilty.

Some rumour 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 added.

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