Feb. 9, 2016 | Press Releases

Vietnam: HRF Urges Government to Release Human Rights Lawyer

NEW YORK (February 9, 2016) — Human Rights Foundation (HRF) condemns the arbitrary arrest of prominent human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai and his colleague Le Thu Ha, and calls on the Vietnamese government to release them immediately. Mr. Nguyen is a well-known advocate for democracy and human rights in Vietnam. On December 16, 2015, Mr. Nguyen and Ms. Le were arrested in their home and office in Hanoi, Vietnam, and have been charged with “conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.” They face up to 20 years in prison. 

Vietnam: HRF Urges Government to Release Human Rights Lawyer

“The Communist dictatorship in Vietnam is notorious for using this vague and overbroad ‘anti-propaganda’ law to quash calls for democratic reform and arbitrarily detain human rights activists,” said HRF president Thor Halvorssen. “The international community should exert pressure on the Vietnamese regime to release Mr. Nguyen and Ms. Le unconditionally. A message must be sent to the regime that its continued crackdown on human rights defenders will not be tolerated,” Halvorssen concluded.

In 2007, Mr. Nguyen was prosecuted under Article 88 of the Vietnamese Penal Code for his activism, and was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison. Since his release in 2011, he has suffered multiple incidents of violent harassment and surveillance from Vietnamese authorities. Early last December, after attending a meeting on International Human Rights Day, Mr. Nguyen was beaten and robbed on the street by masked assailants.

Last month, HRF, along with Vietnamese Overseas Initiative for Conscience Empowerment (VOICE), Amnesty International, Freedom House, and 22 other NGOs, issued a joint statement calling for the release of Mr. Nguyen and Ms. Le. The statement urged the Vietnamese government to “comply with Vietnam’s human rights obligations, and drop all charges against Mr. Nguyen and Ms. Le, who have been peacefully carrying out activities to promote and protect human rights.”

Read the joint statement here.

Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.

Contact: Noemi Gonzalo-Bilbao, (212) 246-8486, noemi@hrf.org.