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French-schooled activist could face death in Vietnam: father

HANOI, Dec 10 (AFP) - A French-educated democracy activist could face the death penalty if convicted at a trial expected in Vietnam late this month, his father said on Thursday.

Nguyen Tien Trung, 25, was arrested in July along with several others, including human rights lawyer Le Cong Dinh, and accused of anti-state activities.

The United States and European Union have expressed concern over their cases.

"Trung told me that probably he would be brought to trial at the end of this month," his father, Nguyen Tu Tu, told AFP after meeting his son in detention earlier in the day.

Trung was arrested for "propaganda against the state", which carries a prison term on conviction. But he is now facing the more serious charge of "subverting the people's administration", his father said.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of death.

Tu said this was the second time he had met his son since the arrest.

"He is fine," Tu said.

Dinh, Trung, and another activist, Tran Anh Kim, 60, are allegedly linked to the banned Vietnam Democratic Party, the state Vietnam News has reported.

Trung graduated from an engineering college in Rennes, France.

He was an outstanding student with a love of his country, French European Parliament member Nicole Kiil-Nielsen said in a letter to Vietnam's French embassy, calling for his release.

He is a "democrat and pacifist", she said in the letter posted on a blog set up by Trung's supporters.

MySinchew 2009.12.10


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