News / Asia

Vietnam Jails Catholic Activist for Tax Evasion

Supporters of Le Quoc Quan marched in Hanoi, Oct. 2, 2013, causing traffic problems until police intervened. (Marianne Brown for VOA)
Supporters of Le Quoc Quan marched in Hanoi, Oct. 2, 2013, causing traffic problems until police intervened. (Marianne Brown for VOA)
Marianne Brown
One of Vietnam's leading dissidents, Catholic lawyer Le Quoc Quan, has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in jail for tax evasion, a charge critics say is politically motivated.

About 500 people marched through Hanoi Wednesday morning causing traffic snarls for over an hour until they were blocked by police.

Wearing matching t-shirts and holding palm leaves as symbols of peace, the group showed support for Quan, one of the country’s most prominent activists and bloggers.

Quan, 42, ran a consultancy company and in his spare time wrote a blog under his own name which reported on civil rights, political pluralism and religious freedom.
Supporters of Le Quoc Quan march in Hanoi, Oct. 2, 2013. (Marianne Brown for VOA)Supporters of Le Quoc Quan march in Hanoi, Oct. 2, 2013. (Marianne Brown for VOA)
On Wednesday, he was found guilty of evading $30,000 of corporate income tax in 2008. Aside from the sentence, Quan was told to pay a fine of $56,000. His chief accountant, Pham Hong Phuong, 31, was jailed for eight months.

One protester, who gave his name as Khang, said he believed Quan was a patriot and that the charges against him were false.

A limited number of observers was allowed to watch the court proceedings from an adjacent room via a closed circuit television which was frequently cut off. One reporter for a foreign news agency said he was prevented from accessing the courtroom for over an hour after the trial started, despite having an official pass.

During the trial, Quan said he was the victim of political acts and that he knew he was innocent under the eyes of God.

The U.S. embassy in Hanoi released a statement shortly after the trial saying it was “deeply concerned” about the verdict. The embassy said the use of tax laws by Vietnamese authorities to imprison government critics for peacefully expressing their political views was “disturbing.”

Quan was arrested in December of last year after months of what he described as increasing intimidation by security forces.

His youngest brother, Le Dinh Quan, was arrested in October, also charged with tax evasion.

His middle brother, Le Quoc Quyet, said authorities were targeting his family.

“They hate my elder brother," he said. "They hate his activities, they don’t want my family to be strong. They want to attack my family.”

A week before his brother’s trial, Quyet said police detained him and several activists while they were drinking tea at the house of blogger Tuong Thuy.

“They opened the door and they broke the door of Mr. Tuong Thuy and they addressed me and along the way they beat me, hit me," Quyet said. "After a medical examination, the doctor told me one my ribs was hurt.”

Quan became known as a dissident in 2007 when he was arrested days after returning to Vietnam from the United States where he had spent several months as a fellow of the National Endowment for Democracy, which is funded by the U.S. Congress.

In 2011, he attended a series of protests in Hanoi against Chinese actions in territory also claimed by Vietnam, the Paracel and Spratly islands, which are believed to be rich in oil and gas reserves.

His trial was originally scheduled for July 9, but the day before the trial the People’s Court of Hanoi announced the presiding judge had fallen ill. Some observers attributed the date change to an invitation by U.S. President Barack Obama to his Vietnamese counterpart Truong Tan Sang to visit the White House.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Nelson from: Áustralia
October 02, 2013 4:18 PM
God blessed "cơm Bình dân"
President Ronald Reagan:
How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin.
And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin.


by: Cơm Bình Dân
October 02, 2013 12:37 PM
The men in the picture were hanging posters calling for releasing Quan. They did the wrong thing. Quan was charged of tax invasion. Vietnamese authorities had proper evidence to prove him guilty. The court opened lawfully. What did these men in the picture do? Did they really realize the root of the problem that the authorities did not mention anything about political aspect? Their action led to traffic jams, made civilians feel annoyed. I condemn men who saw themselves as Quan's supporters and did such ridiculous action.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid