Vietnam has convicted a journalist and democracy activist of assault and sentenced her to three-and-a-half years in prison after she disrupted her trial and demanded to be freed.

Tran Khai Thanh Thuy, 49, was sentenced on Friday after a Hanoi court found her guilty of assaulting two people outside her home last October.

Thuy is one of Vietnam’s small circle of dissidents who have promoted political pluralism, which is not tolerated by the Communist government. She is the 17th democracy activist jailed here in just over three months.

Human rights groups say undercover police recruited thugs to attack Thuy - and then charged her with assault.

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