The Supreme People's Court of Vietnam [official website, in Vietnamese] on Tuesday upheld the conviction of US-trained lawyer Le Quoc Quan [HRW backgrounder], a known anti-government activist. The appeal [AP report] was heard over a half-day trial with the court stating that they had found no new evidence and that the sentence of 30 months in jail, handed down in Quan's October tax evasion trial [JURIST report], was well founded. More than 100 demonstrators gathered at the courthouse to protest the trial which many consider to be politically motivated, targeting Quan for speaking out against the policies of the Vietnam government.
The Vietnamese government has faced sharp criticism in recent months of its human rights policies, especially with respect to detainment and prison sentences. The Supreme People's Court in December sentenced [JURIST report] two former executives to death on corruption charges. Amnesty International [advocacy website] accused [JURIST report] Vietnam authorities in November of using repressive laws against anti-government activists. In October, the same month as Quan's initial trial, Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] urged [JURIST report] the National Assembly of Vietnam [official website] to bring the country's constitution in line with international human rights standards.