According to the indictment from the local People’s Procurator, 54-year-old Cu Huy Ha Vu, a dissident lawyer, wrote a large number of anti-State articles and gave interviews, which he posted on the Internet.

He wrote articles distorting and maligning the Party and State guidelines and policies and defamed the administration and State institutions, even maligning the Vietnamese people’s resistance war.

Tran Dinh Trien, Tran Vu Hai, Ha Huy Son and Vuong Thi Thanh were the four attorneys defending Vu at the trial. Lawyer Hai was removed from the trial as he violated the trial’s regulations.

During the trial, Vu did not admit to any violations. However, the jury considered the documents, evidence and testimony collected during the investigation process and agreed there were sufficient grounds to prove Vu was guilty of “conducting anti-propaganda against the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam”.

The jury said that his case was serious and Vu’s acts were a danger to society and infringed upon the interests of the State and people. However, taking into account the fact that his family had made outstanding contributions to the nation, the court arrived at a seven-year sentence.

Sai Gon Giai Phong - April 5, 2011

US 'troubled' by jailing of Vietnam dissident

WASHINGTON — The United States voiced concern Monday over the sentencing of a prominent Vietnamese dissident to seven years in jail, and said the case raises questions about the Asian nation's commitment to reform.

"We're deeply concerned," State Department Mark Toner said of the conviction earlier Monday of Cu Huy Ha Vu, the son of a Vietnamese revolutionary leader, in one of the communist nation's most politically charged cases in years.

"We're also troubled by the lack apparent lack of due process in the conduct of the trial and the continued detention of several individuals who are peacefully seeking to observe the proceedings," Toner added.

"Vu's conviction runs counter to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and raises serious questions about Vietnam's commitment to the rule of law and reform. No individual should be imprisoned for exercising the right to free speech."

The comments came after Vu was convicted of advocating an end to one-party communist rule in a trial where his lawyers walked out.

"Cu Huy Ha Vu's behavior is serious and harmful to society. His writings and interviews blackened directly or indirectly the Communist Party of Vietnam," said Nguyen Huu Chinh, the head judge.

His case led to "an unprecedented movement of popular support," much of it on the Internet, from a cross-section of society, said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Vu is the son of Cu Huy Can, who was a member of revered founding president Ho Chi Minh's provisional cabinet from 1945 and remains a celebrated poet.

Vu was born into "a revolutionary family" but he failed to follow that tradition, the head judge said.

Prosecutors accused him of spreading propaganda against the state through writings, interviews with foreign media, and Internet material since 2009.

Agence France Presse - April 5, 2011