HANOI, Vietnam – A Vietnamese court docket has sentenced an American to 12 years in jail for what was described as an try and overthrow the Communist nation’s authorities.

The state-owned Tuoi Tre newspaper reported Tuesday that 55-year-old Michael Nguyen was additionally convicted of inciting individuals to collaborating in protests with the intent to assault authorities workplaces within the capital, Hanoi, and southern Ho Chi Minh Metropolis.

Two Vietnamese males, Huynh Duc Thanh Binh, 23, and Tran Lengthy Phi, 21, have been sentenced to 10 and eight years in jail respectively for a similar costs after a half-day trial Monday in Ho Chi Minh Metropolis.

They have been arrested final July in Ho Chi Minh Metropolis after getting back from Hue in central Vietnam, the place they’d traveled to recruit extra anti-government protesters, in line with the state media report.

The protests Nguyen is accused of planning didn’t happen.

Nguyen is from Orange County, California, and his spouse was a visitor of Rep. Katie Porter at President Donald Trump’s State of the Union tackle earlier this 12 months.

“I’m disillusioned with this consequence, and my coronary heart aches for the Nguyen household and for our Orange County neighborhood,” Porter advised the Orange County Register newspaper in an e mail.

Nguyen’s spouse, Helen Nguyen, was quoted by the newspaper as saying the sentence was “a slap to america.”

She mentioned their youngest little one, one in all their 4 youngsters, cried out “why, why, why” when she heard the information.

Protests are uncommon in Vietnam, the place the Communist authorities don’t tolerate criticism of the federal government. Greater than a dozen individuals have been tried final 12 months on costs of conducting anti-government propaganda.

Human Rights Watch ranks Vietnam amongst international locations with the least freedom of expression.

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