Vietnam jails 24 over ‘terrorism, subversion’

December 28, 2017 1:00 am
Defendants are escorted by Vietnamese policemen to the court before a verdict session, in Ho Chi Minh City, , on December 27, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)
Vietnamese courts have sentenced two dozen people to jail on charges of plotting terrorist attacks in the Southeast Asian country and attempting subversion against the conservative communist government.
At the end of a two-day trial on Wednesday, a court in Vietnam’s southern city of Ho Chi Minh handed down prison sentences of between five and 16 years to 15 people after finding them guilty of terrorism and plotting to carry out two petrol bomb attacks at the city’s international airport in April.
Media reported that the convicts were accused of having online links to foreign groups financing the operation at Tan Son Nhat international airport ahead of national holidays for Liberation Day celebrations.
“Via social networks, the defendants cooperated with an overseas reactionary organization… which financed the purchase of weapons and petrol bombs for terrorism,” read the verdict at the trial, according to the state-run Thanh Nien newspaper.
One of the petrol bombs exploded but it caused no deaths or injuries. The other did not detonate.
Terrorist attacks are rare in Vietnam, and relevant convictions are punishable by death in the Southeast Asian country.
Meanwhile, nine other people were sentenced to jail between three and 14 years for attempted subversion and spreading propaganda against the government in Hanoi.
The defendants were convicted at a court in the south-central province of Binh Dinh of printing and distributing leaflets in a village in February, insulting Vietnamese leaders and instigating people to overthrow the government.
Vietnam has experienced sweeping economic reforms over the past three decades and has turned into one of the fastest growing economies with booming foreign investment and trade.
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