The four defendants listen to the court's ruling at the appeal trial on June 4 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The High-level People’s Court in Hanoi on June 4 upheld the sentences for four defendants found guilty of “trying to overthrow the people’s administration” at trial two months ago.

The court reviewed the ruling against Pham Van Troi (born in 1972 and residing in Chuong Duong commune of Thuong Tin district, Hanoi), Nguyen Trung Ton (born in 1972 and residing in Quang Yen commune of Quang Xuong district, Thanh Hoa province), Nguyen Bac Truyen (born in 1968 and residing in Ward 4 of District 4, Ho Chi Minh City) and Truong Minh Duc (born in 1960 and residing in Vinh Thuan town of Vinh Thuan district, Kien Giang province).

The judges found that the defendants’ testimony before and after the trial was consistent and matched the evidence. Accordingly, Pham Van Troi, Nguyen Trung Ton, Nguyen Bac Truyen and Nguyen Van Dai (born in 1969 and residing in Bach Khoa ward of Hai Ba Trung district, Hanoi) were the founding members of “Hoi anh em dan chu” (Brotherhood for Democracy), which was led by Dai.

This organisation was set up on April 24, 2013 and was found to have conducted many forms of propaganda against the State of Vietnam, been connected with foreign organisations and persons to seek funding for its activities and taken advantage of political events and sensitive issues to incite people to protest against the administration.

In the first trial in early April, Nguyen Van Dai was sentenced to 15 years in prison and will be under house arrest for five years after the prison term finishes. Pham Van Troi will spend seven years behind bars and one year under house arrest. Nguyen Trung Ton and Truong Minh Duc received a jail sentence of 12 years and three years of house arrest each.  Nguyen Bac Truyen got an 11-year sentence and three years on house arrest. Le Thu Ha (born in 1982 and residing in Dong Giang ward of Dong Ha city, Quang Tri province), who was also involved in the organisation, will serve nine years in prison and two years house arrest.

Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thu Ha accepted their sentences. Pham Van Troi also pled guilty but appealed for leniency and the three others pled not guilty.

At the appeal trial, the judging panel found that the appeals filed by Nguyen Trung Ton, Nguyen Bac Truyen and Truong Minh Duc were groundless.

It added the seven-year imprisonment for Pham Van Troi is appropriate as the first-instance court already reduced his punishment because he had given testimony sincerely, shown repentance and left “Hoi anh em dan chu” in May 2016.

The first-instance court made a precise assessment of the case’s seriousness and the nature of each defendant’s behaviour while fully considering aggravating and mitigating factors for each defendant, the judges noted.-VNA