Nov 12, 2019 / 15:10

Vietnamese Australian man sentenced to 12 years for terrorism charge

The Hanoitimes - The man would be deported after serving the jail sentence.

Vietnamese-Australian Chau Van Kham, 70, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for being convicted of terrorism, local and international media reported.

 Chau Van Kham, 70, was convicted for "terrorism" charges. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Sydney baker retiree appeared in a Ho Chi Minh City court after more than 10 months in detention, according to The Guardian.

Chau, who holds a senior position in the New South Wales chapter of Viet Tan, was accused of raising funds for anti-state activities, joining anti-Vietnam protests in Australia and recruiting new members to Viet Tan.

Viet Tan political party - a movement critical of the Vietnamese government that the government has proscribed as a terrorist organization.

The court also ordered Chau be deported after serving his jail term.

Chau Van Kham would be deported after serving the jail term. Photo: Theaustralian 

According to Chau’s lawyer Trinh Vinh Phuc, diplomatic intervention from Australia was the strongest chance in bringing Chau back to Australia “very early.”

“If the Australian government raises a strong voice [on] this case then [we] will have more chance to change the situation,” he told the ABC.

In the lead up to Kham’s trial, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs would say only that it was “providing consular assistance to an Australian man detained in Vietnam,” according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Following his conviction, Foreign Minister Marise Payne said “as Mr Chau is able to appeal the sentence under Vietnamese law, it would be inappropriate, and not in Mr Chau’s best interests, to comment while legal processes remain available.”

On a visit to Hanoi in August 2019, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, “Australians need to abide by the laws of the countries which they visit” when asked about Kham’s case.

The Ho Chi Minh City court also convicted five others from three to 11 years in jail each for “conducting terrorist activities against the people’s administration” and “falsifying papers.”