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Vietnam court convicts four pro-democracy advocates of subversion

[JURIST] A Vietnamese court on Wednesday convicted four democracy activists of subversion. After a one-day trial, prominent human rights lawyer Le Cong Dinh [JURIST news archive] was sentenced to five years [BBC report] in prison. Le Thang Long also received a five-year sentence, Nguyen Tien Trung was sentenced to seven years, and Internet entrepreneur Tran Huynh Duy Thuc received a 16-year sentence. The defendants were accused [Reuters report] of activities aimed at ending Vietnam's communist rule. Dinh, the best known of the defendants, admitted [NYT report] to advocating multi-party democracy in Vietnam and joining the banned Democratic Party of Vietnam.

Last month, a Vietnamese court sentenced [JURIST report] pro-democracy dissident Tran Anh Kim to five-and-a-half years in prison for subversion. Dinh was charged [JURIST report] in June with "colluding with foreign reactionaries to sabotage the Vietnamese State," in violation of Article 88 [text] of the Vietnamese penal code, for the alleged distribution of anti-government documents. He was also disbarred [JURIST report] following his arrest. Earlier this year, two Vietnamese newspaper editors were dismissed from their jobs for protesting the arrests of two journalists [JURIST reports] who reported on government corruption. The arrested reporters, who were accused of "abusing freedom and democracy," were sentenced to two years of prison and "re-education" for reporting on the so-called PMU 18 corruption scandal [JURIST reports].

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