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Vietnam sentences American for terrorism

/ Source: The Associated Press

An American-Vietnamese political activist was sentenced to six months jail in a one-day trial, but he will be deported at the weekend as he had already served the time, U.S. embassy officials and his party said on Tuesday.

Nguyen Quoc Quan, 54, an engineer from Sacramento, California, was arrested last November along with several other activists of the Viet Tan (Vietnam Reform Party) who were preparing to distribute leaflets opposed to one-party rule.

Viet Tan says it promotes nonviolent political change in Vietnam, and U.S. Ambassador Michael Michalak has said he has seen no evidence the group is engaged in terrorism.

Quan was convicted by the People’s Court in Ho Chi Minh City, presiding Judge Vu Phi Long said. The court also sentenced Nguyen Hai, a Vietnamese citizen, to nine months in jail and three years of probation on the same charges, Long said.

Another Vietnamese defendant, Nguyen The Vu, was sentenced to five months and 26 days and was freed after Tuesday’s trial for time served, he added. Vu will serve one year of probation.

Long would not give other details of the trial.

Two others already released
Those arrested last November also included American citizen Truong Van Ba from Hawaii and French journalist Nguyen Thi Thanh Van.

Ba, whose American name is Leon Truong, and Van were released in December.

Vietnamese authorities have said Quan entered the country on a forged Cambodian passport.

Communist Vietnam does not tolerate any form of dissent, which it considers a threat to its one-party rule.