Viet Nam: Arbitrary detention of Mr. Le Quoc Quan
URGENT APPEAL -
VNM 001 / 0113 / OBS 001
Incommunicado detention /
January 4, 2013
Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of
the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation
Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following
situation in Viet Nam.
Brief description of the situation:
The Observatory has been informed by the Vietnam
Committee on Human Rights (VCHR) about the arbitrary detention of Mr. Le
Quoc Quan, a human rights lawyer and blogger.
According to the information received, on December 27,
2012, Mr. Le Quoc Quan was arrested by the police in Hanoi while dropping off
his daughter at school. The police also searched his office and home and
confiscated some documents. They apparently read out a warrant,
but did not give it to Mr. Le Quoc Quan’s family. The
police told his family that he would be charged under Article 161 of the
Criminal Code, which relates to tax evasion. If condemned, he risks three years
in prison and a heavy fine.
Mr. Le Quoc Quan, who began a hunger strike on
December 28, is currently detained incommunicado in Hoa Lo Prison No. 1.
Neither his lawyer nor his family have been able to visit him to date.
In addition, Mr. Le Quoc Quan’s arrest follows a recent order by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung that authorities
renew the fight against anyone using the Internet to “defame and spread
propaganda against the State”.
Mr. Le Quoc Quan has been harassed constantly since
2007 by the Vietnamese authorities because of his human rights activities.
On October 3, 2012, some 50 security police and plain-clothed militia forced
entry into the head office of VietNam Credit in Hanoi and its branch office in
Saigon. The firm belongs to Mr. Le Quoc Quan and his two brothers Messrs. Le
Dinh Quan and Le Quoc Quyet. Police seized files and documents belonging to the
firm, assaulted the staff and detained the brothers for interrogation. On
October 30, they returned and arrested Le Dinh Quan, also for alleged “tax
evasion”. He is currently detained in Hoa Lo Prison No. 3. In addition, on
August 18, 2012, Mr. Le Quoc Quan was brutally beaten by two unidentified men
with iron bars outside his home in Hanoi.
The Observatory strongly
condemns Mr. Le Quoc Quan's detention, as it seems to merely aim at sanctioning
his legitimate human rights activities, and recalls
that allegations of tax evasion have previously been levelled against human
rights defenders. Blogger Nguyen Van Hai, alias Dieu Cay,
founding member of the Club of Free Journalists, was initially jailed for tax
evasion but then sentenced in September 2012 to 12 years in jail for spreading
anti-State propaganda under Article 88 of the Criminal Code, along with two
other bloggers and
members of the Club of Free Journalists, Ms. Ta Phong Tan and Mr.
Phan Thanh Hai. On December 28, 2012, an appeals court upheld the 12-year prison
sentence for Dieu Cay, the 10-year sentence for Ms. Ta Phong Tan and reduced to
three-year that against Mr. Phan Thanh Hai.
Please write to the authorities in Viet Nam urging them to:
i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and
psychological integrity of Messrs. Le Quoc Quan, Dieu Cay, Phan Thanh Hai and Ms.
Ta Phong Tan, as well as of all
human rights defenders in Viet Nam;
ii. Release Messrs.
Le Quoc Quan, Dieu Cay, Phan Thanh Hai and
Ms. Ta Phong Tan immediately and
unconditionally as their detention seems to merely sanction their human rights
activities and is contrary to national and international law;
an end to all acts harassment, including at the judicial level, against Messrs.
Le Quoc Quan, Dieu Cay, Phan Thanh Hai and
Ms. Ta Phong Tan, as well as against all human rights defenders in Viet Nam;
iv. Comply with the provisions of the UN Declaration
on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN
General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular:
- its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the
right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive
for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at
the national and international levels”,
- as well as Article 12.2, which provides that “the
State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the
competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others,
against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse
discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his
or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present
v. More generally, ensure in all circumstances
respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with
international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Viet Nam.
· H.E. Mr. Pham
Binh Minh, Minister of Foreign Affairs, 1 Ton That Dam St., Ba Dinh District,
Hanoi, Vietnam; Tel: 84-4-37992000; 080 48235; Fax: 84-4-38231872 –
84-4-37992682, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· H.E. Mr. Nguyen Thai Binh, Minister of Interior, 37A Nguyen Binh Khiem
St., Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi, Vietnam; Tel: 84-4-39764116 – 84-4-39764278;
· H.E. Mr. Ha Hung Cuong, Minister of Justice, 56-60 Tran Phu St., Ba Dinh
District, Hanoi, Vietnam; Tel: 84-4-37336213 – 84-4-37338068; Fax:
H.E. Mr. Tran Dai Quang,
Minister of Public Security, 44 Yet Kieu St., Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi,
Vietnam; Tel: 84-4-069 42545 - 84-4-048 226602; Fax: 84-4-9420223
H.E. Mr. Vu Duc Dam, Minister, Office of the
Government (OOG), 1 Hoang Hoa Tham St. Ba Dinh District, Hanoi, Vietnam; Tel:
84-4-80 43100; 84-4-80 43569; Fax: 84-4-80 44130
H.E. Mr Vũ Dũng, Ambassador Extraordinary and
Plenipotential, Permanent Representative, 30 chemin des Corbillettes, 1218
Grand-Saconnex, Geneva, Switzerland; Tel (Assistant): +41 022-791 85 40; Phone:
+41 (0) 22 791 85 40; Fax: +41 (0) 22-798 07 24; Email : email@example.com
Please also write to the embassies of Viet Nam in your
Paris-Geneva, January 4, 2013
Kindly inform us of any
action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
To contact the Observatory,
call the emergency line:
· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax FIDH + 33
(0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22
809 49 29
In 2007, Mr.
Le Quoc Quan returned to Viet Nam, after a five-month study in the US on a
Reagan-Fascell scholarship, funded by the National Endowment for Democracy
(NED). After his study he published a report titled Democracy in Vietnam:
the role of society. Only four days after his return, he was arrested on
suspicion of engaging in “activities to overthrow the regime”. He was finally
released after 100 days in prison, but no longer permitted to leave Viet Nam.
Subsequently, Mr. Le Quoc Quan was arrested three more times. He was also
disbarred and placed under constant surveillance. Despite this, he continued to
blog on issues of human rights, democracy and social justice and took part in
demonstrations in Hanoi denouncing Chinese encroachments on Vietnamese
See Observatory Urgent Appeal VNM 001/ 0212 /
OBS 018.2, issued on September 27, 2012.