The Court of Appeals at the Ho Chi Minh City Chamber of the Supreme People’s Court on May 13 commuted Lo Thanh Thao’s prison sentence from three and a half years to two years.

Thao, born in southern Dong Nai province in 1977, was charged with “conducting propaganda against the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam”. When she is released she will serve two years’ probation, according to the court.

In court, Thao pleaded guilty to all charges declared by the lower court, and showed repentance for her wrong doings. She begged the jury to reduce her sentence as she said the first term given was too strict.

She said her crimes derived from homosexual relations and she was incited and exploited by bad people and did not have anti-State sentiment. In addition, her family conditions are very difficult, with an old mother lacking care, she added.

The jury said that Thao committed her crime passively from homosexual feelings and she was instigated and exploited by wrongdoers and did not have anti-State motivation.

Although the lower court considered mitigating circumstances for Thao, the jury still decided to grant clemency to her and commute part of her sentence.

This was also the viewpoint of a representative from the Supreme People’s Procuracy at the court.

According to the indictment, in early 2010, Thao became acquainted with Nguyen Thi Nhi from the US via the Internet, and received a telephone, a laptop and 490 USD from Nhi to spread leaflets with content against the Vietnamese State .

On March 20, 2012, Thao transported 2,000 leaflets from Dong Nai province to Thu Thiem Bridge, Binh Thanh district, Ho Chi Minh City, to spread around the city.

Four days later, she flyposted more leaflets in District 1. Thao filmed and photographed her work and emailed her actions to Nhi.

On March 26, Thao was arrested by Binh Tan district police when she was found taking photos of complainants gathering at a restricted area.-VNA