Vietnam appeals court upholds activists' sentences

[JURIST] A Vietnamese appeals court on Tuesday affirmed the sentences facing two democracy activists convicted of subversion. The court upheld [BBC report] the sentence of five years imprisonment and three subsequent years of house arrest for prominent human rights lawyer Le Cong Dinh [JURIST news archive], as well as the 16-year sentence against Internet entrepreneur Tran Huynh Duy Thuc. The court reduced Le Thang Long's original five-year sentence to three-and-a-half years, while Nguyen Tien Trung did not appeal. Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] had called for a complete dismissal [press release] of the charges, saying anything less "would be a new landmark of Vietnam's intolerance for political pluralism."

The four were accused [Reuters report] of activities aimed at ending Vietnam's communist rule and convicted [JURIST report] in January after a one-day trial. Dinh, the best known of the defendants, admitted [NYT report] to advocating multi-party democracy in Vietnam and joining the banned Democratic Party of Vietnam. In February, a Vietnamese court sentenced pro-democracy writer and rights activist Tran Khai Thanh Thuy to three-and-a-half years in prison on assault charges, a week after Pham Thanh Nghien received a four year sentence [JURIST reports] on charges of spreading anti-state propaganda. Pro-democracy dissident Tran Anh Kim was also sentenced [JURIST report] in December to five-and-a-half years in prison for subversion. Dinh was originally charged [JURIST report] in June with "colluding with foreign reactionaries to sabotage the Vietnamese State," in violation of Article 88 [text] of the Vietnamese penal code, for the alleged distribution of anti-government documents. He was also disbarred [JURIST report] following his arrest.

 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.