Vietnam Hands Down Long Sentences for Subversion

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A Vietnam court hands down long jail terms to defendants found guilty of subversive activities.

State-run Vietnam Television reports that a court in Vietnam sentenced a man to life in prison.

The court also passed out jail terms of up to 17 years to other defendants after they were found guilty of subversive activities.

The verdict follows a series of harsh punishments handed down for dissent in the communist-ruled country.

Political infighting has been reported among the leadership that is centered on how to reform the economy and tackle management problems at big state firms that have led to piles of bad debt.

The People's Court of Phu Yen province gave a life sentence to Phan Van Thu, head of a group that wanted to establish a new government in Vietnam.

Jail terms ranging from 12 to 17 years were handed to others in the case.

The People's Police newspaper, which is run by the Public Security Ministry, said Thu and others had built up their forces in a tourist resort in the central province of Phu Yen from 2004.

The group printed a number of anti-government documents until they were arrested in February 2012.

Thu has reportedly spent time in prison for anti-government activities in the late 1970s.

In a January ruling, 13 political activists were found guilty of anti-state crimes and given jail sentences.

Rights activists condemned the ruling as part of a crackdown on dissidents.

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