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Appeal court reduces blogger's jail sentence but upholds three years of house arrest

(RSF/IFEX) - 29 November 2011 - An appeal court today reduced French-Vietnamese blogger Pham Minh Hoang's jail sentence from three years to 17 months but upheld an additional sentence of three years of house arrest after his release from prison. As Hoang has been detained since August 2010, he is due to be released from jail on 12 January.

"We are obviously pleased by the reduction in Hoang's jail sentence but we deplore the decision to keep him in prison for another seven weeks and, above all, the decision to keep him under house arrest for the next three years," Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard said. "This sentence violates the principles enshrined in Vietnam's constitution."

At today's hearing, the appeal court judge said he had taken account of Hoang's "recognition" of "his errors," his request for clemency and his pledge to sever all ties with Viet Tan, an outlawed pro-democracy party. The judge said he also took account of his parents' age - they are both in in their 90s - and the desire to "maintain good relations between France and Vietnam."

Hoang was sentence to three years in prison and three years of house arrest last August on a charge of trying to overthrow the government.

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