Friday, January 22, 2010

Press review after the judgement

Vietnamese dissidents' trial a mockery of justice - Annesty International
The prosecution gave no evidence to support the indictment, and the judges deliberated for only 15 minutes before returning with the judgment, which took 45 minutes to read and clearly had been prepared in advance of the hearing.

Family members, diplomats and journalists observed the trial from an adjacent room through a video link. Many had been turned away, including several family members of Tran Huynh Duy Thuc.

The trial also shows the urgent need to reform the serious short-comings of the 1999 Penal Code, the vague provisions of which criminalize peaceful dissent, contrary to Viet Nam’s obligations under international law.

Court sentences four netizens and pro-democracy activists to a total of 33 years in jail - Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders firmly condemns the long jail sentences imposed on a total of seven bloggers, cyber-dissidents and human rights activists in rushed sham trials in the past two days. Sentences totalling 33 years in prison were passed on four dissidents who were tried by a court in Ho Chi Minh City today.

Vietnam dissident trial criticised - Reuters
Trung, 26, who started a pro-democracy youth group and, like the others, was a member of the Democratic Party, admitted to breaking the law and expressed remorse, saying his family and friends had been affected.

Dissidents Get Stiff Sentences - RFA

Foreign diplomats attending the trial protested the verdicts, and human rights groups were quick to condemn the proceedings.

Danish Ambassador Peter Lysholt-Hansen, the sole European ambassador permitted to attend, said the defendants had been sentenced for actions “which in a democracy are not unlawful.”

The United States condemned the arrests and repeated its concern after the verdict.

“We would like to reiterate our deep concern over the arrest and conviction of persons for the peaceful expression of their beliefs, political or otherwise, by the government of Vietnam,” said Ken Fairfax, U.S. consul general in Ho Chi Minh City.

“There are serious concerns about the whole process,” Danish Ambassador Peter Lysholt Hansen told reporters.

Vietnam: Repression Intensifies Prior to Party Congress - HRW

"With its treatment of peaceful critics, the Vietnamese government seems determined to stand out as one of the most repressive countries in Asia," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "We'd be thrilled if the Vietnamese government proved us wrong, but there are no signs that it will reverse its increasingly harsh crackdown on dissent." In the lead-up to a key Vietnamese Communist Party congress in 2011, Human Rights Watch is concerned that the Vietnamese government will intensify its campaign to silence government critics and curb social unrest in an effort to quell any potential challenges to its one-party rule.

Vietnam’s democracy activists - The Economists

SPEAKING your mind can be costly in Vietnam. This week a court in Ho Chi Minh City, the main city in the south of the country, sentenced four democracy activists to jail terms ranging from five to 16 years. Two of the men, Le Cong Dinh and Nguyen Tien Trung, had previously studied and lived abroad and one, Mr Dinh, is among the country’s best-known criminal defence lawyers.

Dangerous convictions

On January 20th a court in Ho Chi Minh City sentenced Le Cong Dinh, a 41-year-old lawyer, and Nguyen Tien Trung, 26, an activist, to prison terms of five and seven years for advocating multiparty democracy. For both, the road to prison began with Western scholarships. Mr Dinh has a law degree from America; Mr Trung took a masters in France.

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