HANOI, Vietnam (KTRK) -- A Vietnamese court has convicted an American man of disturbing public order after he took part in a rare protest and ordered him deported.
William Nguyen, from Houston, Texas, was arrested June 10 during protests in the southern commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City against a proposed law on special economic zones that many say would benefit Chinese investors.
A court official says Nguyen, who is of Vietnamese descent, admitted to the violation and showed remorse, which resulted in a lenient sentence. He had faced up to seven years in prison.
In June, ABC13 spoke to Nguyen's family who said he was a Yale alum who was currently studying public policy in Singapore.
His sister, Victoria Nguyen, said he was on vacation and making a stop in Vietnam, when he decided to take part in a protest there.
He had reportedly confessed on state TV to wrong-doing. The clip showed him speaking in Vietnamese and reportedly apologizing for causing a disruption to public order.
"He looked, what I think we saw, was hollow. In the confession video, he didn't look like himself at all. Didn't sound like him. He sounded very exhausted, like he'd been coached and coerced," Victoria said at the time.
Late Thursday night, she tweeted about her brother's freedom.
Demonstrations in communist Vietnam are uncommon and often broken up by plainclothes police.
Six Vietnamese have been sentenced to up to 2 -years in prison for the protest and more are awaiting trial.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.