04/06/2018, 12.19
VIETNAM
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Lawyer and activist Nguyen Van Dai sentenced to 15 years in prison

Together with five other pro-democracy activists on trial yesterday for "conducting activities aimed at overthrowing the state".  Sentences total 66 years in prison and 17 years of  house arrest. The defendants are members of the Brotherhood for Democracy, a group founded by Dai in 2013 to defend human rights and promote democratic ideals.

Hanoi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Vietnamese authorities have condemned the famous human rights lawyer and activist Nguyen Van Dai (photo) to 15 years in prison and five years of house arrest for "subversion". This is reported by his wife Vu Minh Khanh, who added that five other pro-democracy militants will have to serve prison terms between seven and 12 years.

Nguyen Van Dai, his colleague Le Thu Ha, and journalists Pham Van Troi, Nguyen Trung Ton, Truong Minh Duc and Nguyen Bac Truyen, were tried yesterday for "conducting activities aimed at overthrowing the state", according to Article 79 of the Vietnamese Penal Code. The offense involves the maximum sentence of life imprisonment or even death for those who are found guilty of it.

The defendants were responding to charges of affiliation to the Brotherhood for Democracy, a group founded by Dai in 2013 to defend human rights and promote democratic ideals in Vietnam. They conducted campaigns for victims of injustice, supported religious freedom and political prisoners and their families. In all, the Hanoi court imposed convictions on activists for a total of 66 years in prison and 17 years under house arrest.

Duc and Ton have both received sentences of 12 years in prison and three years of house arrest. For Truyen, the Court ordered a sentence of 11 years in prison and three years in house arrest. Ha, the only woman in the group, was sentenced to nine years in prison and two years on probation. Troi, on the other hand, received a sentence of seven years and one of house arrest.

Dai was awaiting trial since his arrest in December 2015. Previously, he had served four of the five years in prison he had been charged in 2007 for "anti-state propaganda".

Yesterday, outside the People's Tribunal of the capital, the authorities had deployed hundreds of policemen, who prevented a protest march organized by the families of detained activists. More than a dozen people were arrested before the trial, while others were prevented from entering the court to attend the trial.

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