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Vietnam 14 May 2008

Six to nine month jail terms for contributors to exile radio station

Three contributors to the Vietnamese exile radio station New Horizon were convicted of terrorist activities by a court in Ho Chi Minh City today and were sentenced them to terms ranging from six to nine months in prison. They were arrested during a meeting held in Ho Chi Minh City on 17 November 2007 to discuss pro-democracy activities.

Nguyen Quoc Quan, 55, a US citizen of Vietnamese origin, was sentenced to six months in prison and expulsion on completion of his sentence, which will be in a few days with account taken for the time spent in pretrial detention.

Nguyen The Vu, 31, was sentenced to five months and 26 days, the exact time he spent in pretrial detention, and was to be released later in the day. Nguyen Hai, 57, a Thai citizen of Vietnamese origin who also uses the Thai name of Somsak Khunmy, was given a nine-month sentence.

12.05.2008 - Three pro-democracy activists to be tried in Ho Chi Minh City

Reporters Without Borders appealed today for clemency in the case of three people who are due to be tried in Ho Chi Minh City on 13 May in connection with a meeting organised by the banned Viet Tan (Reform) party in the city on 17 November to discuss the promotion of democracy. No specific charges have been brought against them but the authorities have talked of “terrorism.”

Two of the meeting’s six participants, including one of those facing trial, were regular contributors to the Vietnamese exile radio station New Horizon. Three of the meeting’s participants, a French woman and two US citizens, were released and deported. The three who are to be tried have been in a Ho Chi Minh City prison for the past six months.

They are Thai citizen Somsak Khunmy (a New Horizon contributor), Ho Chi Minh City businessman Nguyen The Vu, and Nguyen Quoc Quan, a US citizen of Vietnamese origin. Relatives say their health has deteriorated as a result of negligence by the prison authorities.

Reporters Without Borders joins the many international organisations that have voiced support for the pro-democracy activists in the run-up to their trial.

“It would be shocking if Asian persons - a Thai and two Vietnamese - were to be convicted while the three other people involved, a French woman and two Americans, were released,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This kind of judicial discrimination would be deplorable and we therefore call for their acquittal.”

In this country
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19 January - Vietnam
Government announces early release of journalist Nguyen Viet Chien
5 December - Vietnam
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