France 'seriously concerned' about Vietnam plot national

30th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

France's foreign ministry on Thursday voiced "serious concern" about a French-Vietnamese citizen who has been charged with attempted subversion against the communist government in Vietnam.

"We will pay particular attention to the transparency of the judicial procedure, as well as the Vietnamese authorities' respect for the right to a defence and right to consular access," said ministry spokesman Bernard Valero.

"French authorities, who are liaising with Vietnamese authorities, are putting all our efforts into finding a favourable outcome," Valero told journalists.

France's consul in Ho Chi Minh City would soon meet the accused, Pham Minh Hoang, for the second time, he added.

The 55-year-old is accused of "plotting to overthrow the government" and of being a member of the US-based Viet Tan "terrorist organisation," the official Vietnam News reported.

Viet Tan, the Vietnam Reform Party, describes itself as non-violent and pro-democracy but is banned in Vietnam.

Tuoi Tre daily newspaper said Hoang has been charged under Article 79 of the Penal code, which can lead to jail or a death sentence upon conviction.

Between 2002 and May of this year, Hoang allegedly wrote 29 articles "distorting the state's policies and activities," Vietnam News said, citing Colonel Nguyen Xuan Mung, deputy chief of investigations at the Ministry of Public Security.

Hoang went to France in 1973 but returned after 27 years to settle in Vietnam, where he worked as a mathematics lecturer at the Polytechnic University of Ho Chi Minh City, his wife said after his arrest in August.

© 2010 AFP

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