A Vietnamese lawyer who acts as a consultant for a magic circle firm has been found guilty of activities aimed at ending communist rule, but his death sentence has been commuted to five years’ imprisonment.

Le Cong Dinh was charged with activities including posting articles online, cooperating with hostile groups abroad and attending a class on non-violent political change. Dinh admitted joining the banned Democratic Party of Vietnam, but denied working to overthrow the ‘people’s administration’.

The Law Society wrote to Vietnam’s justice minister to remind him of Dinh’s rights under international agreements (see [2010] Gazette, 14 January, 4).

Meanwhile, the Law Society has also written to the Venezuelan government over its treatment of Judge María Lourdes Afiuni. Afiuni ruled that banker Eligio Cedeño should be granted a conditional release after almost three years in detention without trial. She was arrested after the ruling together with court bailiffs and defence lawyers and is being detained in a prison which also holds inmates whom she sentenced.