News / Asia

Rights Groups Press for Release of Leading Vietnam Dissident

A U.S-trained lawyer and well-known dissident Le Quoc Quan (r) listens to the judge during his trial in Hanoi, Vietnam, Oct. 2, 2013.
A U.S-trained lawyer and well-known dissident Le Quoc Quan (r) listens to the judge during his trial in Hanoi, Vietnam, Oct. 2, 2013.
A coalition of human rights organizations have issued an open letter calling for the release of prominent Vietnamese blogger, lawyer and human rights activist, Le Quoc Quan.

In an interview with VOA's Vietnamese service, Benjamin Ismail, the head of the Asia-Pacific Desk at Reporters Without Borders, said his organization together with 11 other international rights groups petitioned for Quan’s acquittal based on International Human Rights standards, and the Rule of Law.

"Le Quoc Quan is a special case because he is not only a blogger and a citizen jailed for using his fundamental and basic rights. But he is also a lawyer.  Someone who knows the law," he said. "And if lawyers can see their own rights denied by the regime, it means the rest of the population is even more vulnerable to human rights violations."

Ismail expressed the decision on Quan’s appeal would signal to the international community whether Vietnam respects international human rights law, especially significant in Vietnam’s role as a recently elected member to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

The 12 NGO signatories of the letter calling for Quan's release are the Media Legal Defence Initiative, Media Defence-Southeast Asia, Lawyers for Lawyers, Avocats Sans Frontières, Front Line Defenders, Access, English PEN, Reporters Without Borders, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, ARTICLE 19, Index on Censorship and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada.

Quan’s brother, Le Quoc Quyet told VOA's Vietnamese Service that his brother has filed a complaint against Judge Le Thi Hop, who sentenced him in October to 30 months in prison for tax evasion.

"Quan said it was against the law when the judge saw no sign of law violations but still convicted him.  Secondly, the judge did not convene all the witnesses.  Thirdly, the examiners involved in the investigation process did not have certified licenses," he said. "Moreover, the judge ignored all the evidence provided by Quan’s defense lawyers at the initial trial."

The call for Quan's release comes as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is preparing to visit Vietnam this week for talks on trade and other bilateral issues.

But a bipartisan group of 47 U.S. Congressmen are sent a letter to Kerry this week calling on him to to tell Vietnam's leaders that trade agreements will only follow human rights improvements by the government in Hanoi.

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez says Vietnam has unfairly imprisoned activists like Quan.

"We believe there needs to be a change. That overall, Vietnam's human rights record remains very poor. And that, in particular in the last few years, they have tightened controls on freedom of expression and freedom of association, freedom of assembly," she said. "They have got new decrees out which have prohibited peaceful protests, limited speech on the Internet. We need to see that stop."

Kerry is expected to arrive in Vietnam later this week with a stop in Ho Chi Minh City, followed by a visit to Hanoi.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Vietnamese Service

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid