Nguyen Ngoc Cuong, 55, received a seven-year prison term while his 25-year-old son got two years and his daughter-in-law received a suspended sentence, according to the Communist Party newspaper Nhan Dan.

The three were known to campaign on behalf of farmers embroiled in land disputes with local authorities, an increasingly contentious issue in Vietnam.

They were arrested in April for distributing anti-government leaflets, giving money to protesters and for publishing interviews containing "anti-regime content" online, the report said.

They were also accused of founding an Internet forum called "Vietnam and Today's Issues" which they used to urge fellow citizens "to distort the policies of the state and the party," the paper said.

Their one-day trial took place on Friday in Dong Nai province of the Mekong Delta.

Rights group say dozens of peaceful political critics and rights campaigners have been sentenced to long prison terms since the one-party state launched a crackdown on free expression in late 2009.

Agence France Presse - 0ctober 21, 2011