Jailed blogger files appeal - wife

2011-09-01 12:20
Hanoi - A French-Vietnamese blogger and lecturer has appealed his three-year jail sentence for attempted subversion, his wife said on Thursday after France reiterated a call for his release.

Pham Minh Hoang, 56, who was convicted by a court in Ho Chi Minh City on August 10, personally filed a letter asking to appeal, said his wife Le Kieu Oanh.

"We contacted the court and the court confirmed that the letter had been received," she said.

Oanh added that she does not know the grounds on which he is seeking a review of the court's decision, but she believes he was wrongly accused.

"I think the verdict was not fair because my husband... had no conspiracy to overthrow the administration," she said.


The court ruled that Hoang, who holds dual nationality, wrote 33 articles under the pen name Phan Kien Quoc, "blackening the image of the country" and aiming to topple the government.

At his half-day trial Hoang expressed regret and asked for leniency.

"My writings were not aimed at overthrowing anyone," he testified. "I only pointed out the negative things in society, and I think the country needs to be more democratic."

Paris and the EU have both called for Hoang's release.

On Tuesday, France said it was "deeply disappointed" that its call for Hoang to be freed under a yearly amnesty had not been heeded.

Two less prominent Vietnamese democracy activists were among more than 10 000 prisoners pardoned by Hanoi to mark the communist country's National Day, which falls on Friday.

"Mr Pham Minh Hoang was arrested and condemned, like many other people in Vietnam, for the opinions that he expressed," Bernard Valero, spokesperson for France's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in Paris on Tuesday.

Dozens of peaceful political critics have been sentenced to long prison terms since Vietnam launched a crackdown on free expression in late 2009, according to Amnesty International.

Vietnam says it has achieved significant progress on human rights.

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