Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Vietnamese court frees jailed student activist
by Staff Writers
Hanoi, Vietnam (UPI) Aug 19, 2013

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

An appeals court in Vietnam freed a 21-year-old student activist serving a six-year jail term for alleged subversion, Radio Free Asia reported.

Nguyen Phuong Uyen, sentenced in May for distributing anti-government leaflets, was freed after the court ruling Friday.

"There were many surprises," her lawyer, Nguyen Thanh Luong, told RFA.

"Nguyen Phuong Uyen now has a suspended three-year sentence and was freed at the trial ... [though she] also has another 52 months of probation."

The court reduced by half the 8-year sentence of her 25-year-old co-defendant Dinh Nguyen Kha in what the lawyer said was a rare display of clemency. However, Kha was given three years of probation to be served following his release from jail.

The court decision comes after last month's meeting between President Barack Obama and Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang, during which Obama raised the issue of Vietnam improving its human rights record.

The two defendants were arrested in October during a protest against China's overlapping claims with Vietnam to islands in the South China Sea. They were sentenced in Long An province in the Mekong Delta region of southern Vietnam in May under Article 88 of the Vietnamese Penal Code.

Both Uyen and Kha represented themselves during the appeal hearing, which neither defendant's family members were allowed to attend.

Uyen maintained she had spoken out against the ruling Communist Party, but didn't make anti-state remarks. She said she had been sentenced unfairly under Article 88 that has a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

RFA said prosecutors originally sought to uphold Uyen's six-year prison sentence and reduce Kha's sentence to between five and six years.

Around 100 supporters had gathered outside of the appeal court calling for the defendants to be freed.

Some protesters were detained by police, but released before the end of the hearing, observers told RFA.

Thanh Luong said prosecutors abruptly changed their position without an explanation, prompting observers to suggest Vietnam's leadership may have intervened because of international pressure.

It was "likely that international pressure had something to do with this outcome" and the result was "beyond expectations," said Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch, based in New York.

"It doesn't change the fact that these two youths never should have been charged or imprisoned in the first place."

Their release comes as a group of activists -- including members of the ruling Communist Party -- said they will form the Democratic Socialist Party to promote multiparty democracy in Vietnam, the BBC reported.

Among the activists are prominent members of the Communist organization Fatherland Front.

The BBC reported there had been "months of unusually lively debate over the political system" after the government asked for public feedback on proposals for reform of the Soviet-style constitution which enshrines the Communists in power.


Related Links
Democracy in the 21st century at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Egypt's ElBaradei: liberal with 'troubled conscience'
Cairo, Qahirah (AFP) Aug 14, 2013
Mohamed ElBaradei, who resigned from his post as vice president in Egypt's military-backed interim government in protest at Wednesday's bloodshed, is a respected former UN nuclear watchdog chief. The ex-diplomat, UN executive and Nobel laureate turned liberal political leader stepped down after scores were killed in a crackdown by security forces on loyalists of ousted Islamist president Moh ... read more

Disaster-weary Philippines mops up after deadly floods

Protesters blast Russia's undocumented immigrants detention camps

Fukushima operator pumps out toxic groundwater

Legacy of 1986 Chernobyl disaster seen in impact on region's forests

Will 'space junk' problem intensify?

Space station astronauts to be provided with 3-D printer to make parts

Advancing resistive memory to improve portable electronics

ORNL superconducting wire yields unprecedented performance

Study sees increased risk of flooding in world's coastal cities

Hydropower poses a threat to Shanghai water

Jordan to launch 'first phase' of Dead Sea canal

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon sees country's future in hydropower

Earth orbit changes were key to Antarctic warming that ended last ice age

Improving Understanding of Snowball Earth

Antarctic ice core sheds new light on how the last ice age ended

Chinese tycoon still hopes to sign Icelandic land deal

New contamination scare hits N. Zealand dairy industry

Even for cows, less can be more

Soil biodiversity crucial to future land management and response to climate change

Researchers discover protein that helps plants tolerate drought, flooding, other stresses

Philippine floods kill three, paralyse capital

Slow earthquakes may foretell larger events

China floods death toll passes 100

Clean-up begins after Japan volcano eruption

China's Xi vows stepped up health cooperation with Africa: Xinhua

Keita wins by landslide in Mali presidential vote

Leader of 2012 military coup in Mali promoted

DR Congo colonel defects to M23 rebels with 30 men: army

Archaeologists find evidence of separate Neanderthal cultures in Europe

Spread of prehistoric peoples in California tied to environment

Research effort dates oldest known petroglyphs in North America

Study contradicts concept of 'left brain,' 'right-brain' personalities

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement