Amnesty International has condemned the eight-year prison sentence handed down to a Vietnamese pro-democracy activist and former Communist Party official for posting articles on the internet calling for democracy. Vi Duc Hoi was convicted of "spreading anti-government propaganda" by a court in northern Lang Son province on Wednesday. He was also sentenced to five years of house arrest after his prison term.
Hoi, a member of the Bloc 8406 network of pro-democracy and human rights activists, had written extensively about corruption and injustice in Viet Nam.
He was arrested on 27 October 2010. Before his arrest, public security officials had raided his home on 7 October.
"This verdict and sentence is a shocking testament to how the Vietnamese authorities show complete disregard for freedom of expression when it comes to people who peacefully challenge government policies," said Donna Guest, Deputy Director of the Asia-Pacific Region.
Vi Duc Hoi joins at least 30 other peaceful dissidents currently serving long prison terms; others are awaiting trial. Amnesty International considers all of them prisoners of conscience.