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Vietnam court sentences democracy activist convicted of violating national security

A Vietnamese court on Wednesday sentenced former communist official Vi Duc Hoi to eight years in prison for advocating democracy and a multiparty system. Hoi was convicted of violating Vietnam's national security for information contained in articles he posted on the internet. According to Hoi's defense lawyer, he was convicted of spreading anti-government propaganda [AP report] on the internet. Hoi joined the communist party in 1980 and became a high-ranking party leader. He began advocating democratic reform in 2006 and was subsequently expelled from the communist party. In accordance with the court's ruling, Hoi now faces eight year in jail with an additional five years under house arrest following his jail term.

Hoi is among several dissidents in Vietnam who have been convicted for anti-government activity. In January 2010 a Vietnamese court sentenced [JURIST report] writer and democracy activist Pham Thanh Nghien to four years in prison on charges of spreading anti-state propaganda. That same month a Vietnamese court convicted four democracy activists [JURIST report] of subversion. Following the one-day trial, human rights lawyer Le Cong Dinh [JURIST news archive] was sentenced to five years in prison. The four defendants were accused of activities aimed at ending communist rule in Vietnam. Dinh admitted to advocating multi-party democracy in Vietnam and joining the banned Democracy Party. Prior to Dinh's conviction, a Vietnamese court sentenced [JURIST report] pro-democracy dissident Tran Anh Kim in December 2009 to five and a half years in prison for subversion.

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