Posted Jan 21, 2010 12:30 pm CST
An American-educated human rights lawyer was among four dissidents sentenced in Vietnam yesterday after being tried for trying to overthrow the government.
The lawyer, Le Cong Dinh, was sentenced to five years in prison after admitting he had joined a banned political party and had met with foreign groups, according to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
He has also represented human rights advocates in court, defended free speech, and published Internet essays about democracy, the Times says.
Dinh said he picked up his notions of democracy while studying law at Tulane University, according to the Wall Street Journal account. “From the bottom of my heart, I myself and these three other defendants had no intention to overthrow the government,” Dinh told the court. “During my studies overseas, I was influenced by Western attitudes toward democracy, freedom and human rights.”