Monday, May 14, 2007

Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thi Cong Nhan sentenced

Most here have probably read of the political trials in recent days. On Friday, lawyers Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thi Cong Nhan were brought before a Hanoi court and sentenced to five years and four years imprisonment, respectively; to be followed by four years probation for Dai and three years probation for Nhan. They were charged under Article 88 of Vietnam's Criminal Code, which prohibits the dissemination of anti-government "propaganda". More specifically, Dai was accused of using his law office "to draft, archive, and circulate documents biased against the Vietnamese state;" and of conducting courses in his office through which he "spread libellous and distorted news against the State and through which he recruited members for illegal organisations established by anti-Government elements, including groups so-called 21st Century Democracy Party, Viet Nam Progress Party and Bloc 8406." The judge at his trial said Dai and Nhan had "seriously violated Vietnam's constitution and laws by denigrating the Communist Party's role" and "misrepresented the situation of democracy and human rights in Vietnam."

The official press reports say Dai and Nhan were represented by lawyers, but that the lawyers offered no convincing evidence on their behalf. Letters to the government signed by Dai's wife and Nhan's mother preceding the trial urged the postponement of the trial so the lawyers could have time to prepare a case; and also pointed out numerous violations of Vietnam's Criminal Procedure Code in their arrest, imprisonment and treatment while waiting for trial.

Their trial was preceded by a barrage of media denuciations against them. Vietnam News Agency claims their verdict met widespread public approval in Vietnam; it cited two lawyers with the Hanoi Bar Association, a war veteran, and a priest with the Catholic solidarity committee (of the Fatherland Front) in a diocese of the Central Highlands who said all his parishioners supported the verdict.

This was the second trial in a week of dissidents accused of violating Article 88 of the Criminal Code. Tomorrow another such trial is to take place in Ho Chi Minh City, of Tran Quoc Hien, a spokesman for the banned United Workers and Farmers' Organization and member of Bloc 8406, on charges of defaming the state and disrupting security.

The unfair political show trials and heavy prison sentences have met widespread protest from human rights organizations and government officials. But apparently the protests fall on deaf ears as they have no economic or political leverage behind them.

For their part Vietnamese government officials claim that no one is imprisoned in Vietnam for their political views -- apparently it is only the expression of views that can lead to imprisonment, when those views are considered to be slanderous of the political leadership in Vietnam.

Sources: to be added later.


At 10:50 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should NEVER EVER TRUST the Communist!
"Do Not Listen to whatever the commies said! Just watch their actions!". Nguyen Van Thieu!
I felt so sorry for Le Thi Cong Nhan!
and down with communist!


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