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Journalist and dissident Nguyen Khac Toan tried before "people's tribunal"

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders condemns journalist and dissident Nguyen Khac Toan's trial before a "people's court" in Hanoi on 31 August 2007, fearing that this act of intimidation and a recent government-orchestrated media campaign against him could foreshadow his imminent imprisonment.

The deputy editor of the online dissident publication "Tu Do Dan Chu" ("Freedom and Democracy"), Nguyen Khac Toan was arrested at his Hanoi home and taken to an official building in his neighborhood where a people's tribunal consisting of retired party members and police officers had assembled. A dozen people accused Nguyen Khac Toan of inciting peasants to demonstrate in the capital. Officials recommended "removing him from society" by sending him to a reeducation camp. A few days earlier, official newspapers criticised him and leaders of the United Buddhist Church of Vietnam for encouraging protests. The Communist Party newspaper's website has published an article criticising him that is entitled "A political opportunist unmasked."

Nguyen has been under a form of house arrest since January 2006 after being sentenced in 2002 to 12 years in prison for "spying." An army veteran, he is known for defending evicted peasants and for circulating information about the human rights situation on the Internet.

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