Re: Petition to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention for a ruling that the arrest and detention of Le Quoc Quan is arbitrary
Submitted by: Media Legal Defence Initiative
On behalf of: Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, Lawyers for Lawyers, Access Now, Media Defence – Southeast Asia, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Reporters Without Borders, Frontline Defenders, English PEN, Avocats Sans Frontières Network, Index on Censorship, and Article 19.
This Petition requests the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to rule that the arrest and detention of Petitioner Mr. Le Quoc Quan amount to arbitrary detention.
Le Quoc Quan is a qualified lawyer, active blogger and human rights defender. On his popular blog he exposes human rights abuses commonly ignored by Vietnamese State media. In 2008, Mr. Quan was the recipient of the Hellman/Hammett award for his writing on civil rights, political pluralism and religious freedom. Prior to being disbarred in 2007, he defended human rights cases in court. Mr. Quan was arrested on 27 December 2012 and has been charged with tax evasion pursuant to Article 161 of the Vietnamese Penal Code. He was detained incommunicado for the first two months and had access to counsel only twice.
Despite constitutional guarantees affirming the right to freedom of opinion and expression, association and the participation in political affairs, reports demonstrate a systematic suppression of these fundamental rights by the Government of Viet Nam. Given Vietnam’s recent propensity to fabricate charges such as “tax evasion” in order to suppress fundamental human rights, Mr. Quan submits that the charges have been brought against him for the purpose of prosecuting him for the lawful exercise of the rights conferred to him by the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights and reflected in the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights.
In arresting Le Quoc Quan for the lawful exercise of his right to freedom of opinion and expression (Article 19 ICCPR and UDHR), freedom of association (Article 21 and 22 ICCPR and Article 20 UDHR), and the right to take part in the conduct of public affairs (Article 25 ICCPR and Article 21 UDHR), the arrest and detention fulfil the Category II criteria for arbitrary detention. The violation of Mr. Quan’s right to a fair trial (Article 14 ICCPR and Article 11 UDHR) make that the arrest and detention also fulfil the criteria for Category III arbitrary detention.
Therefore, Le Quoc Quan respectfully submits that the Working Group render an Opinion requesting the Government of Viet Nam to terminate his arbitrary detention and bring the situation in conformity with the principles set forth in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
To read the full petition, click here.