Tag Archives: Vietnam

Vietnam: Vietnam Rights Lawyer Threatened With ‘Discipline’ After Online Comment

August 23, 2017

Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh (L), also known as Mother Mushroom, stands trial at a courthouse in the city of Nha Trang in south-central Vietnam's  Khanh Hoa province, June 29, 2017.

An official lawyer’s organization in central Vietnam’s Phu Yen province has threatened to “discipline” an attorney known for representing defendants in political cases after he suggested that most members of his profession use bribery to influence trials.

Vo An Don, a Phu Yen-based lawyer who has defended hundreds of members of underrepresented communities on a pro-bono basis, told RFA’s Vietnamese Service Wednesday that he received a letter from the Phu Yen Lawyer’s Association on Aug. 18 informing him he would “face discipline” for posting a comment on Facebook which said lawyers in Vietnam regularly use payoffs to win cases for their clients.

“I have served as a lawyer in cases for poor people and political cases, and I always tell the truth,” he said.

“That’s why the authorities really hate me—because I have said things that no other lawyer dares to say. Therefore, they are trying to take revenge on me.”

According to Don, the central Vietnam Lawyer’s Association recently sent a letter to lawyer groups at the provincial level, banning their members from posting “lies” on social media.

“But nobody tells the truth—they only lie,” he said.

“The truth is so ugly, they are afraid of having it revealed.”

Don said that Vietnam’s Ministry of Justice recently issued a decree that bans lawyers from making comments they deem to be “untrue,” and which grants permission to lawyer’s associations at the provincial level to revoke law licenses—a measure that previously could only be taken with the approval of the Vietnam Lawyer’s Association.




Vietnam: Vigils mark 600 days of Christian lawyer’s imprisonment without trial

August 8, 2017

Nguyen Van Dai

Activists in London, Dublin and Prague marked the 600th day of the unjust imprisonment of Vietnamese human rights lawyer, Nguyen Van Dai on 7 August with a solidarity action.

600 lines were drawn in chalk on the path leading to the Vietnamese embassy in London, to mark 600 days of Nguyen Van Dai’s detention without trial since December 2015, along with the hashtag #FreeNguyenVanDai. Solidarity actions were also performed by members of Van Lang in Prague and Front Line Defenders in Dublin.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide’s (CSW’s) East Asia Team Leader Benedict Rogers said: “CSW is deeply concerned that lawyer Nguyen Van Dai has been unjustly detained for over 18 months and that so little is known about his current condition, and how he has been treated in detention. Mr Dai has been a vocal champion for religious freedom and human rights in Vietnam who has dedicated his life to securing justice and freedom for all. Rather than being branded a criminal, the government should recognise the positive role he has played in supporting and defending the most vulnerable in society. We call for his immediate release and urge the Vietnamese government to respect and protect the right to freedom of religion or belief and other human rights in Vietnam.”

Nguyen Van Dai, a Christian, and his colleague, Le Thu Ha, were arrested on 16 December 2015 and were subsequently charged with ‘spreading propaganda against the state’ under Article 88 of the Vietnamese penal code. Since then, the two of them have been held in prison without trial, with limited contact with the outside world.

CSW recently learned that the charges against Dai and Ha have been changed to ‘carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration’ under Article 79 of the Vietnamese penal code. This carries possible penalties of 12-20 years imprisonment, a life sentence, or capital punishment.








Vietnam: Trump blamed for surging crackdown on Vietnamese dissidents

August 8, 2017

Nguyen Thi Tuyet Lan, the 61-year-old mother of imprisoned Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, has struggled to cope since her daughter was sentenced to 10 years in jail for her anti-government advocacy in June.

Unemployed and left to provide for Quynh’s two small children, Lan said the future looks bleak.

“My life has been upside-down since my daughter was arrested and jailed,” she said. “I am trying to pass this life day by day, but I don’t know how long I can stand it.”

Quynh – also known by her pen name Mother Mushroom – was sentenced on June 29, at the beginning of a nationwide crackdown on dissidents that has been draconian even by Vietnam’s standards.

The country is ruled by a single-party communist state that broadly criminalizes dissent.

Five days before Quynh’s conviction, activist Pham Minh Hoang, a Vietnamese-born French national whose Vietnamese citizenship was forcibly revoked earlier that month, was deported to Paris, separating him from his family.

Fresh charges, arrests and convictions against at least eight more dissidents followed in July.

The recent crackdown has cast a wide net, with targets ranging from bloggers to lawyers.

On July 24, Vietnamese police arrested Le Dinh Luong on charges of attempting to “overthrow” the government. A day later, activist Tran Thi Nga was sentenced to nine years in prison on anti-state charges.

Two activists, including high-profile human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai and his colleague Le Thu Ha, were charged on July 30 with attempting to “overthrow” the government. Four activists connected with Dai were also arrested the same day on the same charge.







Vietnam: Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Concludes Detention of Lawyer Nguyen Van Dai is Arbitrary and Unlawful, Calls for Immediate Release | WGAD Decision

June 29, 2017

On 8 June 2017, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) concluded that the detention of human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai is arbitrary and unlawful and called for hie immediate release. Van Dai has been held incommunicado since his arrest on 16 December 2015. The WGAD cautioned that “under certain circumstances, widespread or systematic imprisonment or other severe deprivation of liberty in violation of the rules of international law, may constitute crimes against humanity.” The WGAD petition was filed by LRWC, the Media Legal Defence Initiative, Lawyers for Lawyers, PEN International and Viet Tan.

Read the full decision here.





Vietnam: New Law Threatens Right to a Defense

June 21, 2017


Vietnam should immediately repeal a provision in its revised penal code that would hold lawyers criminally responsible for not reporting clients to the authorities for a number of crimes, Human Rights Watch said today. The revised code also contains a number of changes heightening criminal penalties against criticism of the government or Vietnam’s one-party state.

“Requiring lawyers to violate lawyer-client confidentiality will mean that lawyers become agents of the state and clients won’t have any reason to trust their lawyers,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “Vietnam considers any criticism or opposition to the government or Communist Party to be a ‘national security’ matter – this will undermine any possibility of real legal defense in such cases.”

On June 20, 2017, the Vietnamese National Assembly passed a revised penal code that will come into effect on January 1, 2018. Article 19, section 3 of the revised penal code states that, “[When] the person who does not report [on people] is a defender, he/she is not held criminally accountable in accordance with clause 1 of this article, except for not reporting on national security crimes or other especially serious crimes which the person he/she is defending is preparing to carry out, is carrying out, or has carried out and the defender clearly knows about it while carrying out his/her defense duty.”

Many Vietnamese lawyers publicly voiced their concerns about this new requirement. On June 12, the Ho Chi Minh City Bar Association submitted a letter to the National Assembly urging it to drop the clause. According to the letter, the new clause conflicts with the revised Criminal Procedure Code and the Law on Lawyers, which requires legal defenders to keep information about their cases confidential. The letter states that this new clause is “a step back from the 1999 Penal Code.”



Vietnam: End attacks on activists and bloggers

June 19, 2017

Vu Minh Khanh (C) holds an image of her husband Nguyen Van Dai during a mass prayer for Dai and his assistant in Hanoi, 27 December 2015. Dai was badly beaten by unknown attackers and subsequently arrested for anti-state

(Vu Minh Khanh (C) holds an image of her husband Nguyen Van Dai during a mass prayer for Dai and his assistant in Hanoi, 27 December 2015. Dai was badly beaten by unknown attackers and subsequently arrested for anti-state “propaganda”)

This statement was originally published on hrw.org on 18 June 2017.

Vietnamese bloggers and rights activists are being beaten, threatened, and intimidated with impunity, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Vietnamese government should order an end to all attacks and hold those responsible accountable. Donor governments should tell the Vietnamese authorities to end the crackdown, and that repressing internet freedom, peaceful speech, and activism will carry consequences.

The 65-page report, No Country for Human Rights Activists: Assaults on Bloggers and Democracy Campaigners in Vietnam, highlights 36 incidents in which unknown men in civilian clothes beat rights campaigners and bloggers between January 2015 and April 2017, often resulting in serious injuries. Many victims reported that beatings occurred in the presence of uniformed police who did nothing to intervene.

“It’s bad enough that activists in Vietnam have to risk prison for speaking out, but now they have to risk their safety on a daily basis simply for exercising their basic rights,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Vietnamese government needs to make it clear that it will not tolerate this kind of behavior and bring to an end this campaign against rights campaigners.”

Activists have also been beaten after participating in public events, such as pro-environment protests, demonstrations to call for the release of fellow activists, or human rights-related events. In December 2015, rights campaigner Nguyen Van Dai went to give a talk about human rights and the constitution at a parish in Nam Dan district (Nghe An). As Nguyen Van Dai and three fellow activists were leaving the area, a group of men wearing surgical masks stopped their taxi, dragged them out of the car, and beat them.



(N.B. Nguyen Van Dai is also a human rights lawyer:





https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2017/06/18/vietnam-mettre-un-terme-aux-attaques-contre-les-activistes-et-les-blogueurs (FRANCAIS)

https://www.hrw.org/de/news/2017/06/18/vietnam-angriffe-auf-aktivisten-und-blogger-beenden (DEUTSCH)

https://www.hrw.org/vi/news/2017/06/18/305250 (Tiếng Việt)

Vietnam: AGENTS THREATEN TO KILL HRD & FAMILY – Le Quoc Quan’s family threatened by plainclothes agents

June 13, 2017

Le Quoc Quan

On 8 June 2017, a group of ten plainclothes agents went to the private residence of human rights defender Le Quoc Quan in Hanoi and prevented him and his family from going out. They threatened to kill him, his wife and his three daughters if he continued to work for human rights and multi-party democracy.

Le Quoc Quan is a Vietnamese human rights lawyer, democracy activist and Catholic blogger. Prior to his imprisonment in 2012, he ran a blog where he wrote about various issues including civil rights, political pluralism and religious freedom. As a lawyer, he represented many victims of human rights violations, before being disbarred in 2007 on the fabricated suspicion of engaging in “activities to overthrow the regime”. In 2013 Le Quoc Quan was sentenced to two and a half years in prison on a false charge of tax evasion.

On 8 June 2017, a dozen plainclothes officers surrounded Le Quoc Quan’s home in Hanoi and threatened to kill him and his family if he did not stop his human rights work. The incident came one week after Le Quoc Quan met with visiting U.S. Senator John McCain and other members of a delegation of the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services, during which he reported the intensified political crackdown currently being carried out in Vietnam. Le Quoc Quan reported the threats against him to the police station of Yen Hoa, Cau Giay District, Hanoi.