Tag Archives: Vietnam

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.



Vietnam/USA: Don’t Roll Out the Red Carpet for Vietnam’s Autocratic Leader

May 30, 2017

Don’t Roll Out the Red Carpet for Vietnam’s Autocratic Leader PHOTO

Vietnam’s prime minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc is visiting Washington on May 31 and meeting with President Trump, the latest of a growing list of autocrats Trump has hosted, visited, or praised on the telephone.

After Trump’s glowing endorsement of Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte, his praise of Egypt’s strongman Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, his warm words for Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and cozy visit with the Saudi royal family, one might be tempted to think that the idea of the US promoting human rights in Vietnam is absurd. For decades, even as the United States has steadily strengthened its ties, it has pressured Hanoi on political prisoners, religious liberty, and labor rights. But how can those efforts possibly continue in a Trump administration? Even if the administration cared about human rights, it now lacks credibility.

There are plenty of cases for Vietnam to address. There is the detention of dissident blogger Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, who is serving a 16-year prison sentence for his internet writings and attempts to form a group to promote democracy. The cases of religious activists Ngo Hao and Nguyen Cong Chinh, who are serving 15- and 11-year prison sentences respectively for their advocacy on religious freedom. There is lawyer Nguyen Van Dai, bloggers Nguyen Huu Vinh, Nguyen Dinh Ngoc, Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh (“Mother Mushroom”) and Ho Van Hai, and the longtime human rights advocates Tran Anh Kim and Le Thanh Tung.

When US leaders raise names publicly, it can often lead to those prisoners being treated better in prison—and released sooner. That is reason enough to mention them by name.





Vietnam: Nguyen Van Dai likely on hunger strike as pre-trial detention is extended for the fourth time

May 15, 2017

Nguyen Van Dai

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.


Vietnam: Response to Submissions Made by Government of Viet Nam in the Matter of Nguyễn Văn Đài | UN WGAD Petition

April 18, 2017

In the Matter of NGUYỄN VĂN ĐÀI:
On 17 April 2017 NGOs petitioning for the release of imprisoned Vietnamese lawyer Nguyễn Văn Đài, filed a response to submissions made by Viet Nam on 6 April in reply to the petition filed by the petitioners on 25 November with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. NGOs petitioning are: LRWC, Lawyers for Lawyers, Media Legal Defence Initiative, PEN International and Viet Tan.



Mr Sètondji Roland Adjovi (Benin), Chair-Rapporteur
Ms Leigh Toomey (Australia)
Mr José Guevara (Mexico)
Mr Seong-Phil Hong (Republic of Korea)
Ms Elina Steinerte (Latvia)



In the matter of

Nguyn Văn Đài 


Government of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam


Observations on the Government’s Reply



Vietnam/Germany: Detained Vietnamese Human Rights Attorney to Receive Award For His Work

April 4, 2017

Nguyen Van Dai displays his face after he was beaten by masked assailants in Nghe An province, Dec. 6, 2015.

Detained human rights attorney and activist Nguyen Van Dai will receive an award from the German Association of Judges on Wednesday, making him the first Vietnamese awarded the honor for his work in human rights, RFA’s Vietnamese Service has learned.

A representative of Nguyen Van Dai will accept the award from the group known in German as Deutscher Richterbund (DRB), which is the largest professional organization of judges and public prosecutors in Germany.

Every other year, the organization bestows a human rights award on a judge, public prosecutor, or other lawyer for outstanding merit in the defense of human rights.

Former prisoner of conscience Pham Van Troi, a democracy activist and member of the Vietnam-based Brotherhood for Democracy, called Dai’s selection “wonderful news.”

Dai and other formerly jailed dissidents created the online group in 2013 to coordinate human rights activities across Vietnam and host forums in Hanoi and Saigon to mark International Human Rights Day.

“I think lawyer Nguyen Van Dai deserves this award,” Troi told RFA’s Vietnamese Service. “This is also a positive sign to promote democratization in Vietnam in the near future.”



http://www.rfa.org/vietnamese/vietnamnews/human-right-lawyer-nguyen-van-dai-be-award-by-germany-04042017083451.html (VIETNAMESE)