he trial of human rights lawyer Cu Huy Ha Vu, 53, was originally scheduled for March 24 but was delayed at the last moment. The court said the delays stemmed from a family request.

Under an indictment signed February 17, Vu was accused of spreading propaganda against the state.

The indictment said Vu had published articles and taken part in interviews with foreign media aimed at "smearing the authority of the people's government, carrying out psychological war, asking to overthrow the regime and demanding a multiparty system."

He could be jailed for three to 12 years if convicted.

Four lawyers are allowed to defend Vu at the trial.

The lawyer gained notoriety in Vietnam after he tried to sue Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to stop Chinese-run bauxite mines in the Central Highlands, but the suit was dismissed.

In October, the lawyer again sued the premier over a decree that bars groups from filing petitions or complaints with the government.

Vu's father, Cu Huy Can, was a confidant of national leader Ho Chi Minh and the first agriculture minister of independent Vietnam.

Deutsche Presse Agentur - March 29, 2011