U.S. Dismayed Over Conviction Of Blogger

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HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam, Aug. 11 (UPI) — The United States is “dismayed” over a Vietnamese court’s sentencing of French-Vietnamese blogger to three years in prison, the State Department said.

The Vietnamese court Wednesday sentenced activist Pham Minh Hoang on charge of subversion.

“We are dismayed by Vietnam’s conviction of French-Vietnamese blogger Pham Minh Hoang to three years in prison and three years under house arrest,” the State Department said in a statement. “No individual should be prosecuted for exercising the right to freedom of opinion and expression. Vietnam’s prosecution of individuals for expressing their views contradicts the government’s commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

The State Department said human rights will remain a key component of U.S. relationship with Vietnam.

The 56-year-old math professor was convicted after a half-day trial of “carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration,” the Voice of America reported.

Vietnamese authorities accused Hoang, who holds French citizenship, of posting several anti-government articles on the Internet and having ties to the banned Viet Tan, a U.S.-based pro-democracy group.

Hoang denied his writings were aimed at overthrowing anyone, the BBC reported.

Hoang’s wife said she believed the charges stemmed from her husband’s opposition to a Chinese-run bauxite mine in the Central Highlands that activists say has caused environmental degradation, VOA reported.

France condemned his sentencing and called for an immediate judicial review. Amnesty International said the court ruling was “outrageous.”

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