The Vietnamese authorities have jailed three bloggers accused of spreading anti-government propaganda, in a case criticized by human rights groups.
The high-profile but brief trial took place in Ho Chi Minh City under heavy security, reports say.
The trio was given jail sentences of between four and 12 years.
The government, which does not allow freedom of expression, has been under pressure from bloggers over corruption cases and human rights issues.
The three were accused of posting political articles on a banned website called Free Journalists’ Club, as well as articles critical of the government on their own blogs.
Vietnam has jailed three bloggers accused of spreading anti-government propaganda
Nguyen Van Hai, who uses the pen name Dieu Cay, received the longest sentence of 12 years.
The case of Dieu Cay, who was a soldier before he became a dissident writer, was raised by US President Barack Obama earlier this year.
Former policewoman Ta Phong Tan, who also wrote a blog called ”Justice and Truth”, was sent to jail for a decade. In July, her mother died after setting herself on fire in apparent protest against the detention of her daughter.
The third dissident writer, Phan Thanh Hai, was jailed for four years.
In a statement, the US embassy in Hanoi called on the Vietnamese government to free the group.
“We are deeply concerned by reports that the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court convicted and sentenced blogger Dieu Cay to 12 years in prison for peacefully expressing his political views,” the statement said.
Activists have accused the government of stepping up a crackdown against bloggers and peaceful activists.
“Vietnam’s arbitrary use of vaguely worded national security laws to imprison critics of the government means bloggers are bearing the brunt of this assault on freedom of expression,” Brad Adams, Asia director at the New York-based Human Rights Watch, said in a statement urging the release of the trio.
Earlier this month, Vietnam’s prime minister hit out at three blogs critical of the government.
A statement on a government website said PM Nguyen Tan Dung had ordered police to investigate and take action against those responsible.
Former leaders during Argentina’s military rule Jorge Videla and Reynaldo Bignone have been found guilty of overseeing the systematic theft of babies from political prisoners.
A court in Buenos Aires sentenced Jorge Videla to 50 years in prison and Reynaldo Bignone to 15 years.
They are already serving lengthy jail sentences for crimes committed under military rule, between 1976 and 1983.
At least 400 babies are thought to have been taken from their parents while they were held in detention centres.
The verdict is the culmination of a trial that began in February 2011.
In total, 11 people, most of them former military and police officials, were facing charges.
Nine, including Jorge Videla and Reynaldo Bignone, were convicted in the case over the theft of 34 babies. Two were found not guilty.
Jorge Videla, 86, received the maximum sentence as he was held criminally responsible for 20 of the thefts.
The court said Jorge Videla was guilty of the “systematic abduction, detention and hiding of minors under the age of 10”.
Jorge Videla listened to the verdict without showing any visible emotion. Both he and Reynaldo Bignone were already serving time in prison.
Former leaders during Argentina's military rule Jorge Videla and Reynaldo Bignone have been found guilty of overseeing the systematic theft of babies from political prisoners
Jorge Videla was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2010 for the torture and deaths of 31 dissidents during his rule.
Reynaldo Bignone was also given a life sentence in April 2011 for the torture and murder of political opponents.
Victims’ groups nevertheless welcomed the latest verdicts as a confirmation of the defendants’ guilt for what many consider as the most heinous crimes committed under military rule.
Relatives of the stolen babies, and those who were abducted themselves, cheered as the verdicts were read out.
One of the victims, Macarena Gelman, said the conviction was “historic”.
“To see the faces of those responsible is a sign that justice is making progress,” she told Efe news agency.
Macarena Gelman was raised by a police officer in Uruguay after her Argentine parents were abducted by the military in 1976.
Her mother was taken to a clandestine prison in Uruguay and disappeared. Her father’s body was later found in a cement-filled drum dumped in a river.
Macarena Gelman has since been re-united with her grandfather, Argentine poet Juan Gelman.
More than 100 children given for adoption to military or police couples have been reunited with their biological families.
The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, an association that works to uncover the real identities of the stolen children, believes several hundred babies were abducted.
However, some of the children have said they would rather not know their origins, especially if the information implicates their adoptive parents in illegal acts.
Human rights groups say that during military rule, known as the “Dirty War”, some 30,000 people were killed or made to disappear by the armed forces in their campaign against opposition activists and left-wing guerrillas.
Baby theft convictions:
• Jorge Videla, ex-leader 1976-1981: 50 years
• Reynaldo Bignone, ex-leader 1982-1983: 15 years
• Antonio Vanek, ex-navy attache in Washington: 40 years
• Jorge Eduardo Acosta, in charge of ESMA detention centre: 30 years
• Santiago Riveros, in charge of a military hospital: 20 years
• Victor Gallo, army Captain: 15 years
• Juan Antonio Azic, intelligence officer at the ESMA detention centre: 14 years
• Jorge Magnacco, obstetrician at ESMA detention centre: 10 years
• Susana Ines Colombo, Victor Gallo’s ex-wife: 5 years