FE Today Logo
Search date: 25-06-2019 Return to current date: Click here

Vietnam jails US citizen for 'state overthrow plot'

June 25, 2019 00:00:00

Michael Phuong Minh Nguyen (centre) coming out from the court after a trial on Monday — Reuters

HANOI, June 24 (BBC): A court in Vietnam has sentenced a US citizen to 12 years in prison after finding him guilty of attempting to "overthrow the state".

Michael Phuong Minh Nguyen, 55, had admitted he wanted to incite protests in Vietnam, his lawyer told the BBC.

But he denied more serious charges of planning to attack government offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with petrol bombs.

Nguyen, who was held last year, will be deported after serving his sentence.

Three Vietnamese men were also sentenced to various jail terms for related offences.

Despite major economic reforms in recent years, Vietnam remains a one-party Communist state where criticism of the authorities is not tolerated.

Nguyen and the three other defendants were found guilty on Monday after the trial that lasted just half a day.

Nguyen's defence lawyer Nguyen Van Tam described the verdict as "too heavy".

He said there was no evidence that the his client had planned to use petrol bombs to attack government offices3

It was not immediately clear whether the defendants would appeal.

He was born in Vietnam, but has lived in the US since he was a child.

The father of four was arrested in July 2018 during a private visit to Vietnam.

Soon after his arrest a petition was launched by activists in the US to demand his immediate release.

Share if you like