Nguyen Van Ly, 65, began refusing food after authorities disregarded international appeals and put him back behind bars on July 25 following medical leave, one relative said.

'He didn't eat for one week,' but resumed meals after a visit this week from his sister, he added.

The European Union (EU), United States, Canada and international rights groups all expressed concern about Ly's re-incarceration near Hanoi and said he should be freed.

Ly, one of the communist country's most prominent political activists, is 'at high risk of death in prison' because of his poor health, the EU warned.

He is serving an eight-year sentence after being convicted of propaganda against the state in 2007.

Agence France Presse - August 5, 2011