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American Sentenced to 12 Years in Vietnamese Prison

Michael Phuong Minh Nguyen, third from left, stands during his trial, June 24, 2019, in Ho Chin Minh City, Vietnam. The American of Vietnamese origin was sentenced to 12 years in prison for "attempt to overthrow the state." 

A U.S. citizen has been sentenced to 12 years in a Vietnamese prison for "attempting to overthrow the state.”

Michael Phuong Minh Nguyen, 55, pleaded guilty to wanting to incite protests in Vietnam but denied encouraging people to attack government offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City

He will be deported to the U.S. after he finishes his sentence, his lawyer said. Nguyen Van Mieng, told Reuters news service that Nguyen "admitted guilt at the trial and asked the jury to reduce his sentence so that he could soon reunite with his family."

The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi said in a statement to Reuters that it is "disappointed" by the verdict. "We will continue to raise our concerns regarding Mr. Nguyen's case, and his welfare, at all appropriate levels," an embassy spokeswoman said.

Nguyen, who was born in Vietnam but has lived in the U.S. since he was child, was arrested last year during a visit to his birthplace.

Two Vietnamese men who were arrested along with Nguyen were sentenced to eight and 10 years in prison for related charges.