Target: Truong Tan Sang, President of Vietnam
Goal: Release prominent human rights defender imprisoned under arbitrary charges
Prominent Vietnamese lawyer Le Quoc Quan has been on a hunger strike in protest of his detention. The lawyer, who focuses on pro-bono human rights work, has been under scrutiny from Vietnamese officials since 2007, when they began arresting him under arbitrary charges. Despite promises by the country’s communist government to improve human rights standards in the country, there have been an increasing number of activists convicted arbitrarily in recent years, including Quan.
Le Quoc Quan, founder of the founder of the Quan and Brothers law firm, has provided pro-bono representation to some of Vietnam’s many factory workers and individuals who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. He visited Washington, DC to take part in the National Endowment for Democracy, and researched economic development that would help Vietnam’s poorest.
After returning from his five-month stay in Washington, DC, Quan was arrested for the first time under vague allegations of subversion, or attempting to transform the established social order. He was released after public outcry, but was disbarred for alleged efforts to overthrow the government. He has been under surveillance, presumably by the Vietnamese government, ever since.
Despite being banned from practicing law in Vietnam, Quan has continued to use his skills to help where he can. He has provided free legal advice on forums, as well as written a letter of defense on the behalf of a legal scholar accused of propaganda against the state. In 2012, he was sent to hospital after being assaulted by one of the men tasked to follow him.
He was arrested again in 2013 after the publication of an article in which he criticized Vietnam’s constitutional law. Charged with tax evasion, a charge commonly used to prosecute and silence government critics and political dissidents, he was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Quan, who has dedicated his life’s work to improving the circumstances of his fellow citizens, is currently waiting to appeal his charges. Demand that all arbitrary charges against him be dropped, and that he be allowed to practice law in the country once more.
Dear Truong Tan Sang, President of Vietnam,
Le Quoc Quan, a prominent human rights lawyer, is currently on a hunger strike in protest of the conditions of his detention. He was charged with tax evasion, a charge commonly used to arbitrarily detain political critics, after the publication of an article critical of Vietnam’s constitutional laws. Prior to this, after his work in Washington, DC with the National Endowment for Democracy, he was arrested and banned from practicing law.
Mr. Quan has built his life around improving the circumstances of Vietnam’s factory workers and impoverished citizens. He has fought to better the lives of citizens, many times while accepting no pay. Despite Vietnam’s promises to improve human rights standards, an increasing number of activists and political dissidents are being detained under arbitrary charges. I demand that Mr. Quan be released immediately, with all charges dropped, and that he be permitted to continue to practice law in Vietnam.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: ASM via WikiMedia Commons