Vietnam's Brotherhood for Democracy group has accused the government of mounting a witch hunt after the communist regime announced five of its members and a blogger are to go on trial for subversion
. The People's Court Hanoi City announced on March 20 that six activists including Pastor Nguyen Trung Ton and Christian lawyer Nguyen Van Dai are to be tried on April 5 for "attempting to overthrow the people's government." Five are from the brotherhood and the other is blogger Nguyen Bac Truyen, who worked for the Redemptorist-run Justice and Peace Office in Ho Chi Minh City. The Brotherhood for Democracy said the activists are accused of advocating a free market economy and democratic government, calling on international organizations to speak out against human rights violations and giving legal support to farmers and workers mistreated by authorities. "They are peaceful activities and should be afforded basic rights as guaranteed in the United Nations Universal Declarations of Human Rights, which Vietnam has signed," the group's spokeswoman Nguyen Thuy Quynh said in a statement on March 26. She called the upcoming trial unfair and said it "goes against the government's commitment to the international community." Quynh called on the communist government to immediately release all group members and other "unjustly jailed activists." The statement called on the government to end its witch hunt against peaceful activists struggling for democracy in Vietnam. "Fighting for democracy is a right, not a crime," Quynh said.