06, Apr 2018 | CJP Team
Six activists in Vietnam have received sentences of seven to 15 years in jail for “attempting to overthrow the state,” the Guardian reported. These are the most stringent sentences in Vietnam. The activists received their sentences following a one-day trial that was conducted “under heavy security”. The activists have ties to the Brotherhood for Democracy, an activist group, and were accused of conducting human rights training, advocating for multi-party democracy, and getting foreign funds. A lawyer said that “no evidence showing the defendants’ attempt at overthrowing the state was given” at the trial, adding, “The charge was very much groundless.” One of the activists, lawyer Nguyen Van Dai, has previously served a prison sentence for alleged activity against the state. Dai received a prison sentence of 15 years. According to Amnesty International, at least 97 “prisoners of conscience” in jail in Vietnam. However, Le Thi Thu Hang, spokeswoman for the foreign ministry, denied allegations that activists are singled out, saying that Vietnam is “ensuring and promoting human rights” in accordance with international law. “In Vietnam, there are no so-called prisoners of conscience and no arrests of people who express their personal viewpoints,” she said.