A Vietnamese land rights activist will serve seven years in jail after a court rejected an appeal against his conviction for spreading anti-government propaganda, according to state media.
Nguyen Ngoc Cuong, 56, and his son Nguyen Ngoc Tuong Thi were convicted in October 2011 in southern Dong Nai province of using an online forum "to distort the policies of the state and the party," official media reported.
"As the appeal of Nguyen Ngoc Cuong had no mitigating circumstances, the court decided to uphold his conviction of seven years imprisonment imposed in the first trial," the Communist Party newspaper Nhan Dan said.
However, on Friday his son's sentence was reduced by six months to one-and-half years in prison, the daily added.
The pair rose to prominence for their campaigns on behalf of farmers embroiled in land disputes with local authorities, an increasingly sensitive issue in Vietnam.
The two men were arrested in March 2011 for distributing more than 1,200 "anti-government" leaflets, giving money to protesters and for publishing online interviews critical of the communist regime.
Charges of propaganda against the state and attempting to overthrow the regime are routinely used against dissidents in a country where the Communist Party forbids political debate.© ANP/AFP