A Vietnamese court has sentenced a secondary school physics teacher to three years in prison followed by three years of probation for hanging a banner on a bridge calling for multi-party democracy.
Vu Hung, who turns 43 on Saturday, was among nine people linked to banned pro-democracy group Bloc 8406 whose arrests last year and lengthy pre-trial detentions have been criticised by human rights groups.
All nine were on trial this week. A diplomat with knowledge of the case said they were affiliated with Bloc 8406, a three-year-old group advocating democratic reform.
The Communist government allowed a brief period of enhanced openness in the run-up to Vietnam's accession to the World Trade Organisation and hosting of the APEC summit in late 2006, but has since clamped back down on anyone with opposing views. More...