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January 02, 2014

Vietnamese Dissident Tells of Attack by 'Government Thugs'

by VOA News

The younger brother of jailed human rights activist Le Quoc Quan was severely beaten by several unknown assailants.

Le Quoc Quyet told VOA's Vietnamese service he was entering the gate of his apartment complex in Ho Chi Minh City early Thursday when four men he described as "government-hired thugs" jumped out and beat him.

He alleges the men had been following him for years since his brother Le Quoc Quan had run afoul of the government for promoting democracy and pluralism in Vietnam.

He said he did not report this attack to police because the authorities refused to investigate assaults on him in August and September of last year, despite video evidence that showed the faces of his attackers.

He has posted a video on YouTube that he says shows the attack on him, but it cannot be independently verified.



Quyet said harassment of his family has intensified in recent months as Quan’s appeal date approaches.

"The attack is related to a string of retaliations on my family, such as the arrest of my brother [Le Quoc Quan], the arrest of my younger brother [Le Dinh Quan] and the arrest of my cousin [Nguyen Thi Oanh], who was pregnant at the time and miscarried while in custody," he said. "Only I have not been arrested yet. So they try to attack and harass me just because I am Quan's brother and am outspoken."

Vietnamese authorities have not commented on the attack against Quyet.

Quan was arrested in December 2012 on charges of tax evasion. At his trial late last year, he was convicted of evading corporate income tax and sentenced to 30 months in prison.

A lawyer by training, he was barred from the profession in 2007 after representing numerous victims of alleged human rights violations.  

He was hospitalized following an attack by unknown assailants in August 2012.  The attack was never investigated by the police.

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, a tribunal set up under the U.N.’s Human Rights Council, has said his detention might be “the result of his peaceful exercise of the rights and freedoms guaranteed under international human rights law” and “related to his blog articles on civil and political rights.”

This report was produced in collaboration with VOA Vietnamese Service.