Vietnam court jails activist for 12 years

Vietnam court jails activist for 12 years

Vietnam flag
The Vietnamese national flag flies on a diplomatic car outside the Great Hall of the People before talks between Vietnam's President Tran Dai Quang and Chinese leaders in Beijing on May 12, 2017. (THOMAS PETER / POOL / AFP)

HANOI: A court in central Vietnam has jailed an activist for 12 years, on an accusation of trying to overthrow the state, his lawyer said on Thursday (Sep 13), days after two rights campaigners were barred from attending a meeting of the World Economic Forum in Hanoi.

Despite sweeping economic reform and increasing openness to social change, Vietnam's ruling Communist Party retains tight media censorship and does not tolerate criticism.

Nguyen Trung Truc, 44, was also given five years of house arrest following his jail term at Wednesday's trial in Quang Binh province, the lawyer, Nguyen Van Mieng, said.

Truc, who did not plead guilty and did not agree with the contents of the indictment, would appeal against the verdict, he added.

"He said he was fighting for the environment and for human rights, not attempting to overthrow the state," the lawyer said.

In a statement, police in the province said Truc, arrested in August last year, was among a group that formed "Brotherhood for Democracy" in 2013, which conducted "anti-government activities" to "build multi-party democracy" in Vietnam.

Vietnam this week denied entry to the campaigners to attend the meeting being held in Hanoi, touted as the country's largest diplomatic gathering this year.

(Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Source: Reuters/na