Mar 31, 2011, 5:19 GMT
Hanoi – Two Western journalists are to be allowed to attend the Vietnam trial of a high-profile legal activist next week, an official from the Foreign Affairs Ministry said Thursday.
The court can only afford one seat for journalists working for European media at the trial of human rights lawyer Cu Huy Ha Vu on April 4 because of ‘limited space,’ the official who requested anonymity said.
The European media were to organize a representative among themselves, the official said. The US news agency The Associated Press was granted a separate seat.
No translators were to be allowed to assist the foreign journalists during the trial.
Under an indictment signed February 17, Vu stands accused of spreading propaganda against the state.
The indictment said Vu had published articles and taken part in interviews with foreign media aimed at ‘smearing the authority of the people’s government, carrying out psychological war, asking to overthrow the regime and demanding a multiparty system.’
He could be jailed for three to 12 years if convicted.
The lawyer gained notoriety in Vietnam after he tried to sue Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to stop Chinese-run bauxite mines in the Central Highlands, but the suit was dismissed.
In October, the lawyer again sued the premier over a decree that bars groups from filing petitions or complaints with the government.