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Amnesty International Condemns Heavy Sentences for Vietnam Labor Activists

WASHINGTON - Amnesty International has condemned the prison sentences of nine and seven years given to three activists in Vietnam for carrying out their legitimate work pertaining to labor rights.

"The authorities should immediately release three labor organizers, and stop this needless crackdown on government critics and peaceful activists," said Donna Guest, Amnesty International's deputy director for the Asia-Pacific.

Today Doan Huy Chuong, Do Thi Minh Hanh, and Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung were convicted and sentenced after a speedy trial yesterday for ‘disrupting security'. They had distributed leaflets and supported workers' rights at a factory.

"Today's harsh sentences, and the continuing arrests of activists and bloggers, paint an increasingly bleak picture of freedom of expression and association in Vietnam," said Guest.

Doan is a founding member of the unofficial United Workers-Farmers Organization (UWFO) and previously spent 18 months in prison between 2007 and 2008 on the charge of ‘abusing democratic freedoms'. Do and Nguyen are members of Victims of Injustice, a petitioners' movement.

The three activists are the latest to be convicted in an ongoing wave of arrests and trials of activists, organizers and bloggers.

At least 30 prisoners of conscience are currently imprisoned in Vietnam, including members and supporters of banned political groups, independent trade unionists, bloggers, businessmen, journalists, and writers.

The trial, conviction and sentencing of the three labor activists comes on the eve of the ASEAN summit in Ha Noi, beginning on October 28.

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