Human rights lawyers Nguyen Van Dai, aged 40, and Le Thi Cong Nhan, aged 30, were jailed in May 2007 for "conducting propaganda against the State." Amnesty International considers them prisoners of conscience. Nguyen Van Dai provided legal advice to dissidents and represented some in court, in particular imprisoned Protestants claiming persecution by the state.
Nguyen Van Dai was released in April 2011 after serving a four-year prison term and will be under house arrest for four years.
Human Rights Watch Deputy Asia Director Phil Robertson says Vietnam has in recent week's broadened Internet surveillance out of fear bloggers and dissidents are responding to the public uprisings sweeping North Africa.
"I expect we will see a greater crackdown on freedom of expression because the [Vietnamese] government has started to realize that different groups, whether they be people campaigning about land or on workers' issues, people involved with ethnic minorities in the Central Highlands, all these people are starting to communicate better through the Internet,"