The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court sentenced four men belonging to the so-called Democratic Party of Vietnam to up to 16 years in jail January 20 for “acting to overthrow the people’s government.”
Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, 44, got 16 years, Nguyen Tien Trung, 27, got seven years, and Le Thang Long, 43, and lawyer Le Cong Dinh, 42, each got five years under Article 79 of the Penal Code.
|(R--L) Le Cong Dinh, Le Thang Long, Nguyen Tien Trung, and Tran Huynh Duy Thuc stand trial at the HCMC People’s Court January 20 (Photo: Nguoi Lao Dong)|
The People’s Supreme Procuracy had said they wrote, compiled, possessed, and disseminated documents against the Party and State.
The Democratic Party of Vietnam attempted to overthrow the government and Mr. Dinh was assigned to draft a “new Constitution” to replace the existing one, according to the court.
Thuc was the instigator of the establishment of a reactionary organization called the “Chan Research Group” and encouraged participants to change the system, according to the court.
According to the verdict, on three blogs, “Tran Dong Chan,” “Psonkhanh,” and “Change we need,” he published articles that distorted and objected to the Party’s leadership and Government’s policies.
The verdict said Thuc and Dinh were the leaders of the so-called Labor Party of Vietnam and Socialist Party of Vietnam and tried to mobilize members for the Democratic Party of Vietnam, while Long set up many online clubs for publishing articles against the State.
Trung, an IT graduate who had studied in France, joined the Democratic Party of Vietnam and in March 2008 drew up 50 documents against the State.
He personally ran a forum called Democratic Youth to mobilize overseas Vietnamese students to act against the State.
In the court, Dinh and Trung admitted their offenses while Thuc and Long rejected the charges, claiming they just acted “to make the country thriving and prosperous.”
The judges called it an extremely serious violation of national security, in which the accused colluded with many overseas organizations led by Vietnamese to set up political organizations to overthrow the government by “non-violent” means.
After several months of investigations, prosecutors decided to amend the charges against the four from “propaganda against the socialist state” to “acting to overthrow the people’s government.”