Vietnam activist Cu Huy Ha Vu jailed after Hanoi trial

Lawyer Cu Huy Ha Vu's wife Nguyen Thi Duong Ha (C) holds a candle at a vigil for his release in Hanoi on 2 April 2011
Image caption Lawyer Cu Huy Ha Vu is one of Vietnam's more high-profile activists

A court in Vietnam has sentenced legal activist Cu Huy Ha Vu to seven years in prison for spreading anti-government propaganda.

Mr Vu, who was arrested in November, had called for an end to one-party rule.

The verdict will draw criticism from rights organisations, who had before the half-day trial called for his immediate release.

His family has also questioned the legitimacy of the trial.

Mr Vu's defence lawyers walked out of the Hanoi courtroom after their demands were rejected by the judges.

Revolutionary background

Mr Vu was sentenced to seven years in jail and three years of house detention afterwards. The presiding judge said his behaviour had been harmful to society.

Through his writing and interviews given to foreign media, the 53-year-old legal expert advocated a multi-party system and called for democratic reforms in Vietnam.

He also tried to sue the Vietnamese prime minister twice over a mining project he said would harm the environment.

Mr Vu is the son of a celebrated poet who was also a leading revolutionary and confidant of President Ho Chi Minh.

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