May 15, 2017
15 May 2017 marks one month since human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai last accepted a food package from his family. According to the authorities at the Hanoi-based B14 detention facility, Nguyen Van Dai has since rejected food supplements from his relatives, in a likely bid to protest the extension of his pre-trial detention. On 21 April 2017, the Supreme People’s Procuracy of Vietnam extended the investigation period into Nguyen Van Dai by two months, bringing his total pre-trial detention to 18 months.
In a letter sent to Nguyen Van Dai’s lawyer Ha Huy Son dated 21 April 2017, the Supreme People’s Procuracy announced it had extended the investigation period prior to the Court taking up the case by two months. Nguyen Van Dai has been held in Hanoi since 16 December 2015, after he was arrested by the police for “conducting propaganda against the state of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam”, which falls under article 88 of the Vietnamese Penal Code. After the initial four months pre-trial detention period ended, the police extended it three times for four months each. The investigation period was supposed to end on 16 April 2017. The Court will only take up the case once the investigation is over, leaving Nguyen Van Dai behind bars. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.
Since his arrest, Nguyen Van Dai has not been allowed to meet with his lawyer, while his wife has only been permitted to visit him twice, on 16 December 2015 and on 17 January 2017. According to the Vietnamese Code of Criminal Procedure, Nguyen Van Dai’s lawyers will be allowed to meet with him to prepare his defence once the police agency completes its investigation.