June 7, 2018
Prominent Vietnamese rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai and a fellow member of the Brotherhood for Democracy were released from prison late on Thursday and put on a plane from Hanoi to Germany, members of his banned group and an exile pro-democracy group said.
The release and exile of Dai and colleague Le Thu Ha came about two months after they and four other activists were given lengthy jail sentences for conducting activities aimed at overthrowing the state under Article 79 of Vietnam’s Penal Code.
Dai was sentenced to 15 years in prison and five years of house arrest on April 5, while Ha was sentenced to nine years imprisonment.
According to Viet Tan, an unsanctioned Vietnamese pro-democracy party, Dai, Ha, and Dai’s wife, Vu Minh Khanh, will arrive in Frankfurt Friday morning on a Vietnam Airlines flight from Hanoi.
There was no immediate confirmation of the release from the Vietnamese government or state media, but fellow members of the Brotherhood for Democracy in Vietnam confirmed to RFA’s Vietnamese service that the pair were released and exiled.
“We are heartened that Nguyen Van Dai does not have to endure more years of prison,” said Duy Hoang, spokesperson for Viet Tan.
“However his and other members of the (Brotherhood for Democracy’s) imprisonment by the Vietnamese authorities was arbitrary and illegal in the first place. Nguyen Van Dai should be able to return to Vietnam as a free person at the time of his choosing,” added Hoang.