Update Viet Nam – Detention of Mr. Le Quoc Quan Update for the purpose of the Pre-session UPR regarding Viet Nam on 27 November 2013, on behalf of Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L), Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) and The Law Society.
On 13 June 2013, L4L, LRWC and the Law Society of England and Wales jointly submitted a report on the state of human rights in Viet Nam, especially those regarding the legal profession, with recommendations to the OHCHR for the 18th session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group in the United Nations Human Rights Council in January/February 2014. One of the individual cases highlighted in the joint report was the case of Mr. Le Quoc Quan. This Update serves to highlight recent developments. The use of judicial proceedings to harass and wrongfully convict and imprison lawyers representing clients or causes unpopular with the Government of Viet Nam has worsened, as illustrated by the Le Quoc Quan case illustrates.
Mr. Quan has been harassed since 2007 by Viet Nam authorities because of his human rights activities. He was arrested in 2007, detained for 100 days without charges and subsequently his law practice certificate was revoked. In April 2011, he was arrested again and released without charges. In August 2012, Mr. Quan was severely injured during a violent attack he believes was conducted by authorities. He was again arrested on 27 December 2012 and is still in detention.
Twelve NGOs, including L4L and LRWC (NGO Coalition) raised the violation of Mr. Quan’s rights with
UN Special Rapporteurs on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association and the situation of human rights defenders (Letter of Allegation of 13 March 2013) and also with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (Petition of 13 March 2013).
On 2 October 2013, Mr. Quan was convicted of evading corporate income tax. He was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment and a fine of 1.2 billion dong (approximately USD 59,000) was levied against the Company of which Mr. Quan is a director. His trial began and ended on 2 October 2013. Mr. Quan has appealed his conviction. Currently, he remains in Hoa Lo No. 1 Prison. The date for his appeal trial has not been set.
On 31 October 2013, the NGO Coalition updated the UNWGAD petition by means of an additional statement. In November 2013, LRWC published a report titled ‘Statement Regarding the Matter of Mr. Le Quoc Quan and the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Violation of Rights to Pre-trail Release’. It concluded that the Government of Viet Nam has failed in its legal obligations to protect and ensure the internationally protected rights of Mr. Quan. LRWC called on the Government of Viet Nam to release Mr. Quan immediately. This statement is available at www.lrwc.org.
- Joint UPR submission of L4L, LRWC and the Law Society of England and Wales, dated 13 June 2013
- LRWC report on the Violation of Rights to Pre-trial Release, dated November 2013