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Vietnam jails teacher to 14 years over attempted subversion

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) – A court in northern Vietnam has sentenced a former primary schoolteacher to 14 years in prison after finding him guilty on charges of attempting to overthrow the communist government.

Dao Quang Thuc, 58, was convicted of posting on his Facebook page articles with “reactionary contents,” the official Vietnam News Agency reported. The People’s Court in Hoa Binh province on Wednesday also convicted him of associating with a California-based exiled anti-communist group called the Provisional Central Government of Vietnam, which the Hanoi government declared a terrorist organization.

The court also ordered Thuc to serve five years of house arrest following his sentence.

Court officials were not available for comment Thursday.

Dozens of activists have been convicted for violating the national security law since the beginning of the year. Last month, a court in Ho Chi Minh City sentenced 12 activists including two Americans of Vietnamese descent to up to 14 years on similar charges.

Despite sweeping economic reforms since the mid-1980s that opened Vietnam to foreign trade and investment and made it one of fastest-growing economies in the world, the communist government tolerates no challenge to its one-party rule.

Some Western governments and international human rights groups often criticize Vietnam for jailing people for peacefully expressing their views, while Hanoi maintains that only law breakers are put behind bars.

Last week, rights campaigners from Amnesty International and the International Federation for Human Rights were barred from entering the country to attend the World Economic Forum in Hanoi.

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