HANOI: Vietnam jailed a dissident with Australian citizenship for 12 years on Monday on terrorism charges, his lawyer told AFP, in the one-party state where anti-government criticism is routinely quashed.
Chau Van Kham, who fought against the communists during the Vietnam War, belongs to the outlawed Viet Tan group and was in Vietnam for a fact-finding mission when he arrested in January.He was jailed Monday for 12 years for “terrorism against the People’s Administration” and will be deported after he serves his sentence, his lawyer Trinh Vinh Phuc told AFP.
Kham was jailed alongside Nguyen Van Vien, who got 11 years, and Tran Van Quyen who was sentenced to 10 years, both on the same charges.
“In court Kham said he did not conduct any terrorist acts, his activities were peaceful,” Phuc told AFP after the one-day trial in Ho Chi Minh City.
“Twelve years is too high,” Phuc said, adding that Kham had hoped for a sentence of less than 10 years. His son told AFP he was “shocked” by the verdict, which could see his father remain in jail until he is over 80 if his appeal is not successful.