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26 July 2010

On this day in history: South Vietnamese opposition politician sentenced, 1968

With no end in sight to the conflict between his country and North Vietnam, Trương Đình Dzũ stood as a candidate in the 1967 South Vietnamese presidential elections on a peace ticket with a dove as his campaign symbol. He proposed negotiation with the Viet Cong, holding out the possibility of a coalition government, to end the Vietnam War. Trương Đình Dzũ received around 17% of the vote putting him in second place behind General Nguyen Van Thieu on 38%.

Under the political regulations of the time advocation of negotiation with the communists was forbidden, but it was not against the law. So when the authorities placed Trương Đình Dzũ under arrest it was for illegally opening a bank account in San Francisco. Following a trial by a Special Military Court he was sentenced to five years hard labour on 26th July 1968. As a result of public opinion at home and international pressure, Trương Đình Dzũ only served five months of the sentence.

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