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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 July, 2004, 08:03 GMT 09:03 UK
Vietnam jails veteran dissident
A court in Vietnam has sentenced a veteran pro-democracy activist to more than two years in prison for undermining the communist system.

Dr Nguyen Dan Que is the third Vietnamese dissident to be convicted this month for using the internet to swap information and criticise Hanoi.

He was detained in March last year while on his way to an internet cafe.

Vietnam curbs access to the internet through firewalls and blocks sites it deems inappropriate.

Dr Que was jailed for 30 months, although a court official told the French news agency AFP that he was due to be released in September 2005 due to time already served.

He was found guilty by the Ho Chi Minh People's Court of "abusing democratic rights to jeopardise the interests of the state, and the legitimate rights and interests of social organisations and citizens".

He was arrested last March, a few days after writing an essay about Vietnam's control over the media which was posted on the internet, human rights groups said.

Others convicted

His conviction follows the sentencing earlier this month of two other dissidents in Vietnam - Pham Que Duong, 73, and Tran Khue, 68. Both are due to be released at the end of this month on account of time already served.

Dr Que, 61, has already spent more than 18 years in prison for advocating improvements in democracy and human rights in Vietnam.

Dr Que, an endocrinologist, was detained without trial between 1978 and 1988, after he criticised national health care policy.

After his release he set up a democratic rights movement, but was arrested in 1990 and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.

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