News / Asia

Vietnam Jails Prominent Activist for 30 Months

Friends and supporters wearing t-shirts with the image of lawyer Le Quoc Quan hold hands while attending a mass calling for Quan to be freed at Thai Ha church in Hanoi September 29, 2013.
Friends and supporters wearing t-shirts with the image of lawyer Le Quoc Quan hold hands while attending a mass calling for Quan to be freed at Thai Ha church in Hanoi September 29, 2013.
A prominent Vietnamese activist has been sentenced to 30 months in jail on tax evasion charges that critics say are politically motivated.

Le Quoc Quan was also fined about $60,000 at the half-day trial, held under tight security on Wednesday at the Hanoi People's Court.

Ahead of the ruling, police formed a tight ring around the court, preventing Quan's supporters from reaching the facility. Some small-scale clashes were reported.

The 42-year-old is one of Vietnam's best-known government critics. Before his December arrest, the Catholic lawyer ran a blog on human rights, democracy, religious freedom and other sensitive topics.

Duy Hoang is a Washington-based spokesman for Viet Tan, a pro-democracy group banned in Vietnam. He tells VOA it was a "politically motivated trial from the very beginning."

"Le Quoc Quan is a very well respected democracy activist and human rights lawyer. And frankly, the Vietnamese government was afraid to put him on trial for his political activism and blogging and expression, so they had to resort to tax charges," said Hoang.

It is not the first time Quan has faced criminal charges; he was also arrested and charged with subversion in 2007, shortly after returning from a United States government-funded fellowship on civil rights. He was later released following an international outcry.

After Wednesday's ruling, the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi released a statement saying it is "deeply concerned" with the conviction. It said "the use of tax laws by Vietnamese authorities to imprison government critics for peacefully expressing their political views is disturbing."

The statement also called on Vietnam to release all prisoners of conscience and allow all Vietnamese to peacefully express their political views.

Washington has regularly criticized Vietnamese authorities for imprisoning dozens of dissidents and critics of the country's one-party system.

Rights groups also slammed the ruling. Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch said on Twitter the charge represents "another black mark" on Vietnam's record.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid