Cu Huy Ha Vu, 53, was sentenced in April to seven years in prison and three years of parole.

A small number of diplomats and journalists, including a reporter from the German Press Agency dpa, were allowed to watch the hearing via closed-circuit television. All mobile phones and recording equipment were banned.

Hundreds of police were stationed on surrounding streets to prevent protests.

Vu gained notoriety 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 a letter released to the media by his wife Monday, Vu said he was innocent of the charges against him but was ready to sacrifice himself for his country.

'All my work is non-profit and without private motive,' Vu said. 'As a result, a political regime which is facing many internal dangers has taken revenge on me, and the result is a political trial.'

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

Deutsche Presse Agentur - August 2, 2011

Vietnam dissident calls for reforms during appeal

HANOI — The dissident son of one of Vietnam's founding revolutionaries has proclaimed his innocence during an appeals trial. He says he's not against the Communist Party, but has defiantly called for a multiparty system.

French-educated lawyer Cu Huy Ha Vu is appealing a seven-year jail sentence received in April for conducting propaganda against the state. The 53-year-old has asked the court to dismiss his case, saying he did nothing wrong.

Prosecutors seeking to uphold the sentence said Tuesday that his actions have violated national security.

Vu is the son Cu Huy Can, a well-known Vietnamese poet and revolutionary leader.

The Associated Press - August 2, 2011