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Vietnam to prosecute anti-Communist activists for 'terrorism'

[JURIST] Vietnam will prosecute two anti-Communist activists on "terrorism" charges for distributing literature critical of the government, a government spokesperson said Thursday. The men are members of US-based rights group Viet Tan [advocacy website, in Vietnamese], which has denied that it endorses anti-government violence and has said that the men were calling for peaceful democratic change. Reuters has more.

The Communist Party of Vietnam [party website] has continuously rejected calls for to allow opposition parties, but pro-democracy groups in Vietnam have increasingly begun to work together to press democratic reforms and more respect for human rights, although their success has been limited. In May 2007 two Vietnamese human rights lawyers were sentenced for violating Article 88 of the Vietnamese criminal code [JURIST report] by advocating that Vietnam adopt a multi-party system of government. In 2006, the US and Vietnam ended a three-year suspension of talks [JURIST report] regarding human rights and religious freedoms [HRW backgrounder] in the country, which began when the US canceled the annual Human Rights Dialogue with the Government of Vietnam in 2003 due what it said was lack of progress on the issues.

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