An appeals court in Vietnam has been criticized for upholding a five-year prison sentence for a jailed Catholic activist.
The People’s Court of Nghe An province on January 15 upheld Nguyen Van Oai’s prison term, and another four years’ probation, on a charge of resisting security officers and violating the terms of his probation from an earlier jail sentence.
Only Oai’s mother and wife could attend court proceedings while relatives and supporters were stopped from entering and left outside where they were surrounded by police and security officials.
The lawyer said police and authorities violated the law when they arbitrarily entered Oai’s house without his permission on multiple times.
Before he was arrested in January 2017, Oai was on four years’ probation that was part of an earlier sentence for “attempting to overthrow the people’s government.” As part of that, he was in prison from 2013-15.
Oai participated in anti-China protests and protested the imprisonment of rights activists. He also took part in protests against Taiwanese steel company Formosa, which was responsible for a toxic waste disaster along the central coast of Vietnam in April 2016.
Rights group Human Rights Watch said the Vietnamese authorities should drop charges of violating probation against Oai and allow him to go home.