The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court sentenced Pham Minh Hoang to three years imprisonment for “activities aiming at overthrowing the people’s administration” under clause 2, Article 79 in the Penal Code at the first trial on August 10.

Pham Minh Hoang, who was born in 1955 in Vung Tau city, the southern coastal province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, will also abide by a three-year probation in his residential area after serving his sentence.

According to the indictment of the Supreme People’s Procuracy, in 1973, Pham Minh Hoang left to study in France and held a Masters Degree in Applied Science. Drawn in by Nguyen Thi Thanh Van and Nguyen Ngoc Duc, who were key members of the “Viet Tan” terrorist organisation, Hoang joined this exiled reactionary organisation in 1998 and operated at the organisation’s chapter Paris 3.

In 2000, under the guidance of Viet Tan, Hoang returned to Vietnam and worked as a contracted lecturer of applied science at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology.

Between July, 2002 and May, 2010, under the pen-name “Phan Kien Quoc”, Hoang penned many writings, including 33 items containing distorted information on the Vietnamese Party and State policies and guidelines and sent them to Viet Tan for uploading on the internet with the aim of propagandising, inciting and mobilising forces to overthrow the regime, the Communist Party and the people’s administration.

From November 26-29, 2009, Hoang, his wife (Le Thi Kieu Oanh) and Nguyen Thanh Hung flew to Malaysia to attend a refresher course on “non-violent struggle” held and taught by Nguyen Ngoc Duc, Nguyen Quoc Quan and Nguyen Thi Thanh Van, who were members of the “Viet Tan” organisation.

The course provided skills on information security on the internet, discussed ways to engage in a “non-violent struggle” and showed films on this subject to seek ways to apply the method in Vietnam.

After that, from December 29, 2009-May 9, 2010, Hoang enlisted his younger brother Pham Duy Khanh and two Overseas Vietnamese Jolie Trang Huynh and Huynh Chau and held two courses for 43 students, young people and nuns on “soft skills” to recruit members for Viet Tan.

At the investigation agency and at the court, Hoang declared in good faith, admitted his guilty activity and asked for tolerance to return home soon to serve his aged parents and fulfil his duty as a father and a husband.

Hoang gave 33 of his writings to the investigation agency.

Both Le Thi Kieu Oanh and Nguyen Thanh Hung, who were summoned by the court to the trial admitted that if they had known their participation of the courses in Malaysia and Vietnam was to build the force for Viet Tan, they would never have attended and they themselves were imposed on without knowing about the subject.

According to the judge council, the collected documents, checking against witnesses and interrogation at the trial were a basis to prove that Pham Minh Hoang committed an offence of “activities aiming at overthrowing the people’s administration”.

As a member of the terrorist organisation Viet Tan, Hoang had regular contact and knew the organisation’s plan of action was to abolish the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam and overthrow the people’s administration using many methods, including the “non-violent” and “peaceful revolution” methods.

The judge council concluded that the defendant’s guilty action seriously violated national security.

The trial was chaired by Deputy Judge Nguyen Phi Long from the Penal Court of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court. Nguyen Hong Minh representing the municipal People’s Procuracy attended the court as a proxy for the Supreme People’s Procuracy.

Lawyer Tran Vu Hai from the Hanoi Bar Association defended the accused at the court.

Representatives from foreign diplomatic corps, and domestic and foreign reporters attended the court.

In this lawsuit, due to Nguyen Thi Thanh Van, Nguyen Ngoc Duc and Pham Duy Khanh living overseas, they will be treated later if they are arrested./.