June 24 (UPI) -- A Vietnamese court sentenced a U.S. citizen Monday to 12 years in prison for attempting to overthrow the government.
Vietnamese authorities accused Nguyen of plotting to attack government offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with gas bombs. He admitted to wanting to incite protests, but has denied plotting an overthrow.
Nguyen was born in Vietnam but has lived in the United States since he was a child, and is an American citizen. He was arrested while visiting Vietnam a year ago.
U.S. activists have demanded Nguyen's immediate release. The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi was disappointed by the verdict and said it will continue to voice concerns about the case.
Defense attorney Nguyen Van Tam said the verdict is "too heavy" and there's no evidence his client planned to bomb government buildings. He is considering an appeal.
Three other Vietnamese men were also sentenced to various jail terms on related offences.
The United States cut diplomatic ties with Vietnam following the war in the 1970s, and finally resumed normal relations in 1995.