Viet Nam
Urgent Interventions

Concerns over risks of prosecution of Buddhist youth leader Le Cong Cau

Attn:President Truong Tan Sang, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Communist PartySecretary-General Nguyen Phu Trong

Paris-Geneva, March 22, 2013

Re: Concerns over risks of prosecution of Buddhist youth leader and human rights defender Le Cong Cau in Vietnam


The Vietnam Committee on Human Rights(VCHR) the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the WorldOrganisation Against Torture (OMCT) call for the end of the judicial harassmentof Buddhist Youth leader and human rights defender Le Cong Cau, Head ofthe Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam’s (UBCV) Buddhist Youth MovementCommission and an active coordinator of UBCV activities, including on humanrights issues, in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue.

Mr. Le CongCau has been threatened with prosecution by the police after his articlescriticising the policies of the State authorities for violations of freedom ofreligion, its management of territorial disputes with China were posted on theInternet. He is accused of violating Article 87 of the Vietnamese Criminal Codeon “undermining the unity policy” andArticle 88 on “circulating anti-statepropaganda”. These offences carry prison sentences of up to fifteen andtwenty years.

On March 12,2013, Mr. Le Cong Cau was summoned by the Security Police to come for a“working session” at the Truong An district police station at 8.00 am thefollowing day. For the next two and a half days (March 13 to 15, 2013) he wassubjected to intensive interrogations. Before releasing him on March 15, thepolice declared that they had obtained “sufficient evidence” to prosecute himunder Articles 87 and 88 of the Criminal Code.

Unusually,the police interrogation was not conducted by local police, but by an officialfrom the Provincial Security Police, Mr. Nguyen Huu Chung, and two members ofthe Hue municipal Security Police. They began by showing Le Cong Cau severalarticles downloaded from the Internet, which, they said, “slandered the regime and spread propaganda about an illegalorganization named the UBCV”.

Specifically,the police accused Le Cong Cau of criticising the Vietnamese Communist Party(VCP) and calling for political change; advocating on behalf of the UBCV; anddenouncing the State-sponsored Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) as a politicaltool of the regime. Whilst admitting he had written on all these subjects, LeCong Cau declared that he was expressing legitimate peaceful opinions inaccordance with the Vietnamese Constitution and with international law, and therebyhad committed no crime.

On the lastday of the interrogation, on March 15, Officer Chung made Le Cong Cau write astatement admitting that he had written articles accusing the VCP of sellingoff Vietnamese waters and lands; being submissive to China and repressivetowards the Vietnamese people; persecuting religions and repressingpro-democracy activists and human rights defenders; advocating politicalpluralism; predicting the imminent demise of the Communist regime; and accusingthe State-sponsored VBS of being a political tool of the VCP.

Le Cong Cauwrote the statement, but refused to recognise these acts as crimes. He tried toadd the words: “I stand by my convictionsand ideals. Everything I have done is in line with the rights enshrined in theVietnamese Constitution. All those who try to prevent me are violating ourConstitution. I refuse to collaborate with those who trample on the VietnameseConstitution”. However, theSecurity Police struck these words off the statement.

FIDH, OMCTand VCHR recall the right of Le Cong Cau to freely express his peacefulopinions, as guaranteed in Article 69 of the Vietnamese Constitution andArticle 19 of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights towhich Vietnam acceded in 1982, which enshrines the right of all people to“receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless offrontiers”.

Accordingly,we demand the immediate and unconditional end of judicial and other acts ofharassment against Mr. Le Cong Cau, and the guarantee, in all circumstances, ofhis physical and psychological integrity.

Inthe hope that you will take these elements into account,




InternationalFederation for Human Rights (FIDH)



WorldOrganisation Against Torture (OMCT)

VoVan Ai


VietnamCommittee on Human Rights (VCHR)