A Vietnamese court sentenced a U.S. citizen Monday to a lengthy 12 years in prison after finding him guilty of plotting to overthrow the communist government.
Michael Phuong Minh Nguyen, 55, pleaded guilty to charges of inciting protest against the Communist-ruled Vietnamese government and attempting to attack government offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with Molotov cocktails, the state-run newspaper Tuoi Tre reported, according to the New York Times.
“It’s such a long sentence,” Nguyen’s lawyer, Nguyen Van Mieng, said.
“Michael admitted guilt at the trial and asked the jury to reduce his sentence so that he could soon reunite with his family,” he continued.
A spokesperson from the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi said that they were unhappy with the verdict of Nguyen’s case.
“We are disappointed by today’s verdict,” the spokesperson said.
“We will continue to raise our concerns regarding Mr. Nguyen’s case, and his welfare, at all appropriate levels,” they continued.
Nguyen was detained in Vietnam in July when he became suspected of organizing anti-government activity, according to his brother-in-law Mark Roberts. (RELATED: China Halts Purchases Of American Soybeans)
Nguyen was born in Vietnam but resided in the United States since he was a child, the Times reports.
The Vietnamese government sentenced two other Vietnamese men to eight years and ten years prison, respectively, for similar charges of conspiring against the Communist government, Mieng said, according to the Times.
“Their objective is to cause riots in an attempt to overthrow the administration of Vietnam and eradicate the leading role of the party,” the indictment read, according to Tuoi Tre.
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