People’s Court in Cho Moi District in the southern province of An Giang yesterday imprisoned Nguyen Van Lia and Tran Hoai An on charges of “abusing the freedom and infringing on State’s interests and legitimate rights of organizations and citizens”.
Lia was sentenced to five and An to three years in prison.
According to the indictment, 71-year-old Lia from Cho Moi District was found in his house on April 24 with 15 books, 64 CDs and DVDs and 36 documents slandering the State for violating human rights and suppressing religious freedom.
Lia was also found to have received money from individuals from other countries to fund his operation.
During the interrogation, Lia confessed that he had written these documents together with 60-year-old An. They both distributed the documents to other people.
They also admitted to having discussed and agreed with others to call themselves as followers of the “traditional Hoa Hao Buddhism camp” in 2007. The group also wrote many documents criticizing the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and circulated them.
They also confessed that between 2007 and 2010, Lia, An and a few others went to HCMC to meet with foreign religious delegations.
They also held interviews with foreign radio stations in which they provided fabricated information and documents that slandered the authorities of Viet Nam for suppressing religious beliefs.
Both pleaded guilty in court, attributing their crime to low intellect and lack of awareness of the state law.
Other members in their group also received administrative fines.