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Vietnam human rights lawyer released from jail

[JURIST] Vietnamese human rights lawyer and activist Le Thi Cong Nhan [AI backgrounder; JURIST news archive] was released from prison on Saturday after serving a three-year sentence for allegedly spreading propaganda against the state. Although she has been released [AP report] from jail, she will now serve an additional three years of house arrest. Nhan was convicted and imprisoned in 2007 for allegedly violating Article 88 [text] of the Vietnamese criminal code by advocating for a multi-party system in Vietnam with her activism, which included posting articles on the Internet and hosting discussions on human rights law. Nhan was convicted alongside another human rights lawyer, Nguyen Van Dai who is still serving his jail sentence.

Nhan and Dai were arrested [JURIST report] in early 2007 after hosting a discussion on human rights. They were convicted [JURIST reprot] a few months later of spreading propaganda against the state, and Nhan was sentenced to four years in prison while Dai was convicted to five. In late 2007, an appeals court lowered [JURIST report] their sentences by a year, citing both lawyers's lack of a prior criminal record and because their activism had not yet caused serious damage to the country. During their appeal, both lawyers challenged the Vietnamese government's lack of democracy and human rights. Le Cong Dhin, who represented Nhan in 2007, was convicted and jailed in January on unrelated charges [JURIST reports] of subversion for allegedly "colluding with foreign reactionaries to sabotage the Vietnamese state."

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