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Vietnam deports American for distributing pro-democracy pamphlets

[JURIST] The Vietnamese government Saturday deported Nguyen Quoc Quan [advocacy profile], a US citizen sentenced for planning to distribute pro-democracy pamphlets in the communist country. He received a six-month jail term Tuesday, but was credited for time he spent awaiting trial. Quan was one of several arrested in November 2007 for planning to give out literature on behalf of US-based rights group Viet Tan [advocacy website, in Vietnamese]. The Vietnamese government considers Viet Tan and other anti-communist groups [JURIST news archive] to be terrorist organizations, but Viet Tan says it promotes only non-violent political change.

The Communist Party of Vietnam [party website] has consistently rejected calls to permit opposition parties, but pro-democracy groups in Vietnam have recently collaborated to press for democratic reforms and improved human rights, with limited success. Last May, two Vietnamese human rights lawyers were sentenced for violating Article 88 of the Vietnamese criminal code [JURIST report] by advocating that Vietnam adopt a multi-party system of government. In 2006, the US and Vietnam ended a three-year suspension of talks [JURIST report] regarding human rights and religious freedoms [HRW backgrounder] in the country, which began when the US canceled the annual Human Rights Dialogue with Vietnam in 2003 due to what it said was a lack of progress on the issues. AP has more.

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