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Vietnam: Update – Sentence of human rights defender Pham Minh Hoang reduced to 17 months on appeal
On 29 November 2011, the Court of Appeals of the Supreme People's Court reduced the sentence of human rights defender Professor Pham Minh Hoang from three years to 17 months.
On 10 August 2011, the Ho Chi Minh People's Court had sentenced Professor Pham Minh Hoang to three years' imprisonment for violating Article 79 of the Vietnamese Penal Code. Given that he has been arbitrarily detained since 13 August 2010, Professor Pham Minh Hoang will be released on 12 January 2012, however he will be placed under house arrest for an additional three years.
Professor Pham Minh Hoang has been active in campaigning against the mining of bauxite in the Central Highlands region. He has also been active in organising leadership skills courses for his students and encouraging them to make a difference in society.
Front Line welcomes the decision by the Court of Appeals, but calls on the Vietnamese authorities to immediately release Professor Pham Minh Hoang without any conditions, as it is believed that he is being persecuted for his legitimate work in the defence of the community's rights. Front Line further calls on the authorities to guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Vietnam are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all undue restrictions.
On 4 October 2011, Front Line and nine other international NGOs sent a letter to H.E. Nguyen Tan Dung, the Prime Minister of Vietnam, calling for the release of Professor Pham Minh Hoang.
For further information on this case, please refer to the previous appeal dated 23 August 2010.