Nguyen Van Dai founded the Committee for Human Rights in Vietnam in 2006. He was arrested in March 2007, together with Le Thi Cong Nhan. Nguyen Van Dai had taught students on human rights at his office. He and Le Thi Cong Nhan had expressed themselves in interviews in ways that prompted the government to initiate criminal proceedings. Both of them are well-known dissidents in Vietnam and acted as lawyer for protesters who were prosecuted by the government.
The lawyers were sentenced, respectively, to four and three years in prison and four and three years’ house arrest. On 9 March 2011, Nguyen Van Dai was released from prison because he had served his four-year sentence. This, however, meant that his house arrest, imposed in 2007, could commence.
Lawyers who stand up for human rights are suppressed routinely in Vietnam. According to Amnesty International, the campaign against lawyers and other peaceful activists is an attempt by the Vietnamese government to silence political dissidents and to scare off potential critics.
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