27 August 2014
On 26 August 2014, the following letter was sent to the President and the Prime Minister of Viet Nam, to Barack Obama and to the representative of the EU in Hanoi.
Re: Arbitrary detention of Mr. Le Quoc Quan
The signatory organizations request the release of Mr. Le Quoc Quan, a well- respected human rights lawyer and blogger.
Mr. Le Quoc Quan was arrested on 27 December 2012 on alleged charges of tax evasion. Following his arrest, he was held incommunicado and denied permission to see his lawyer for two months. Repeated requests by his family to visit him were also denied. Mr Quan first saw a family member at his trial on 2 October 2013, at which he was convicted of evading corporate income tax and sentenced to 30 months imprisonment and a fine of 1.2 billion dong (approximately USD 59,000).
In 2013, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention condemned Mr. Le Quoc Quan’s detention as violating his right to freedom of expression and his right to a fair trial.i It found that Mr. Le Quoc Quan had been targeted for his work as an activist and as a blogger and called for his immediate release or for his conviction to be reviewed by an independent court. It also recommended that Viet Nam pay damages to Mr. Le Quoc Quan for his arbitrary detention.
The government of Viet Nam has not responded to this decision. On 18 February 2014, the Court of Appeal in Hanoi upheld Mr. Le Quoc Quan’s conviction. The decision of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention was not taken into account.
In view of the upcoming Viet Nam National Day, on September 2, 2014, we once more urge the authorities of Viet Nam to comply with the decision of the United Nations Working Group and to release Mr. Le Quoc Quan immediately and unconditionally.
We thank you for your attention to this matter.
A copy of this letter is being sent to the President of the United States and to the representative of the European Union in Hanoi.