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

Video 2nd American Reportedly Killed in Syria

Minnesota television report says Abdirahman Muhumed left area to fight for Islamic State militants More

WHO Fears Ebola Outbreak Could Infect 20,000 People

World Health Organization says outbreak 'continues to accelerate' but that most cases are concentrated in a few local areas More

Angelina Jolie Marries Brad Pitt

Actors wed in small private ceremony Saturday in France 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.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid