Ongoing detention of human rights lawyer in Vietnam

Who we wrote to

Tran Dai Quang, president of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

What’s the issue

We’re concerned about lawyer Nguyen Van Dai who was arrested on 16 December 2015 and remains in pre-trial detention. We’ve previously raised concerns about the situation of Nguyen Van Dai in our letter of 10 June 2014.

We understand that on 16 December 2015 Nguyen Van Dai was detained in B14 Prison in Hanoi with the charges of “conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” under article 88 of the Vietnamese Penal Code.

Earlier that month, it was reported that Nguyen Van Dai and a group of human rights defenders were attacked by unidentified individuals, who used iron bars and were driving unmarked vehicles. We also understand that shortly before his arrest in 2015, Nguyen Van Dai was scheduled to meet a European Union delegation for a dialogue on human rights in Vietnam.

On 30 July 2017, after 19 months of detention, Nguyen Van Dai’s charges were amended and linked to article 79 of the Penal Code, which relates to the offence of “carrying out activities with the purpose of overthrowing the Peoples’ administration”.

If found guilty, Nguyen Van Dai could be sentenced to between 12 and 20 years in prison.

Since his arrest, it’s been reported that Nguyen Van Dai has had limited contact with his legal representatives and has had serious delays in getting correspondence from his lawyers. We’re concerned that he’s rarely been allowed to see his family. We also understand that Nguyen Van Dai suffers from poor health, resulting from the December 2015 attack.

What we asked for

We urged the relevant authorities to review the case of Nguyen Van Dai, and to:

  • ensure that Nguyen Van Dai has swift and effective access to legal representation of his choosing
  • ensure that he receives appropriate and effective medical treatment while in detention
  • consider dismissing the charges against Nguyen Van Dai, and to release him from detention immediately and unconditionally
  • ensure that all lawyers and human rights defenders in the country are free to work without intimidation, and in an environment which promotes freedom of expression

Timeline

10 June 2014 – we sent a letter raising our concerns about the situation of Nguyen Van Dai

December 2015 – Nguyen Van Dai and a group of human rights defenders were attacked by unidentified individuals

16 December 2015 – Nguyen Van Dai was detained in B14 Prison in Hanoi

30 July 2017 – Nguyen Van Dai’s chargers were amended and linked to article 79 of the Penal Code