Thu May 8, 2008 7:00am EDT
HANOI (Reuters) – A U.S. citizen and a Thai citizen will be put on trial in Vietnam on charges of “terrorism”, a government spokesman said on Thursday, six months after they were arrested with leaflets calling for political change.
The pair and a third man, a Vietnamese citizen, are activists of the Viet Tan (Vietnam Reform Party), a U.S.-based group opposed to Communist Party rule.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Le Dung said at a regular news briefing that all three men would be tried in a court in Ho Chi Minh City on May 13 “on terrorism charges” under Vietnam’s criminal code.
Viet Tan, which is outlawed in Vietnam, says it does not support the use of violence and that pamphlets seized by police at the time of last November’s arrests promoted peaceful democratic change.
The ruling Communist Party rejects calls for a multi-party system and last year it arrested more than 30 political activists, diplomats and human rights groups said.
Some were put on trial for “spreading propaganda against the state,” a criminal offence in Vietnam and handed prison sentences of between three years and eight years.
(Reporting by Hanoi Newsroom; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)