HANOI - A French-Vietnamese math professor was sentenced yesterday to three years in prison for belonging to a banned prodemocracy group and publishing an anti-Communist blog, his lawyer said.
Pham Minh Hoang, 56, was found guilty of trying to overthrow the government by posting 33 articles against Vietnam’s one-party Communist system and of holding membership in the Viet Tan and recruiting others to join the group. It was the second high-profile dissident trial in just over a week.
US-based Viet Tan says it is a nonviolent advocate of democracy, but Hanoi considers it a terror organization. US officials say they have no evidence to support the accusation.
Hoang told the court during the half-day trial in Ho Chi Minh City that he joined Viet Tan in France where it is not banned and that he did not do anything to oppose the government, according to his defense lawyer, Tran Vu Hai.
Hoang, who was teaching math at a Ho Chi Minh City university at the time of his arrest, said he returned to Vietnam in 2000 to contribute to the country and take care of his ailing parents, Hai said.
The government said he had attended a Viet Tan-organized course in Malaysia and was helping to recruit new Vietnamese members, Hai said.