Target: Truong Tan Sang, President of Vietnam
Goal: Release human rights activist Le Quoc Quan
Le Quoc Quan, a human rights defender, lawyer, avid blogger, and advocate for democracy has been arrested by the Vietnamese government for tax evasion. His arrest comes after the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) published one of Quan’s articles, “Constitution of a Contract for Electricity or Water”, where a disclaimer reads that he is well aware that he could be imprisoned for his words. He is set to go on trial on July 9, 2013, where if convicted he could spend seven years in jail.
The Vietnamese government has sentenced many of their critics and advocates to jail for voicing their concerns and opinions, including people like Nguyuen Phuong Uyen and Dinh Nguyuen Kha who handed leaflets criticizing their government. Regarding Quan’s court case, it is highly likely that he will be convicted. Vietnamese courts are heavily influence by political interests and are not known to be impartial. Quan’s charges have also been used on other activists to curb their activities and influence.
Le Quoc Quan’s actions in the political sphere are extensive. The man has used a fellowship funded by Washington, DC to conduct research on civil society, correlating with his interest in economic development for Vietnam. When he returned, Quan was arrested, but was shortly released after national and international outcries. However, since his release Quan has been under constant police surveillance. He was also assaulted by a man Quan recognized as someone who was tailing him. The police have done little investigation into this crime. Quan even opened a law firm that aids workers and poor people who have been exploited. Despite the government’s efforts to silence Quan, the man continues to voice his discontent.
It is obvious that the Vietnamese government is persecuting Quan for his opinions and activism efforts; the charges of tax evasion are simply a ploy to distract the people and other countries from the real reason. Instead of focusing on the people’s concerns, the government has thrown its critics into prison. Sign this petition to release this brave man. He has a right to be free and critique his government.
To the Vietnamese government,
The arrest of Le Quoc Quan is an unjust and dark maneuver to silence the activist. He has been charged with tax evasion; however, the same charges have been given to other activists and bloggers who have been wronfully sentenced to prison. The man has done nothing to endanger society or the people within it. He has done research to try and improve the quality of life in Vietnam, demonstrated his views peacefully and yet he has been attacked by both the police and civilians. Freedom of speech should be a right given to every human being. It is not a danger to society so long as it used responsibly.
I demand that you release Le Quoc Quan. It is immoral to sentence a man to prison because he critiques his government. The people should always have a say in how their government operates because they are the ones living alongside it.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Maurice Cooper via flickr