A court in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday sentenced five members of an anti-state group to jail terms ranging from eight to 15 years for “working to overthrow the people’s administration.”
The convicts – Luu Van Vinh, Nguyen Quoc Hoan, Nguyen Van Duc Do, Tu Cong Nghia and Phan Trung – were found guilty after a half-day trial for trying to form a so-called " Vietnam National Self-Determination Coalition", a group aimed at removing the current Vietnamese government.
They are also subject to an additional three-year probation period after jailtime where they will be put under supervision by the local authority of their place of residence.
According to investigators, Vinh was the most prominent member, who had initiated idea of forming an anti-government group after frequently reading “negative” information on social media pages and began reaching out for like-minded people.
After coming together, the five rented a space on the first floor of a café in Ho Chi Minh City for their first meeting in 2016, where they decided on an official ‘public debut’ on November 6 the same year.
In preparation for the event, the men created a Facebook group, sewed their own flags, and printed leaflets and documents calling for public attendance at their first ‘assembly’ at a church in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City.
However, the group’s activities were tracked down and its members placed under arrest before they could organize the event.
At Friday’s court, Vinh received a jail term of 15 years for his leadership role, while the other four were handed sentences of eight to 13 years.