Vietnam Letter writing campaign for Le Cong Dinh
23 June 2009

Vietnam Letter writing campaign for Le Cong Dinh

On 13 June 2009, Vietnamese lawyer Le Cong Dinh, managing partner of the leading firm DC Law and former president of the Ho Chi Minh Bar Association, was arrested and his office was raided by the Vietnamese Police and Security. Le Cong Dinh represented many journalists, human rights activists, writers, bloggers and lawyers, among whom blogger Dieu Cay and lawyers Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thi Cong Nhan. Furthermore, he published regularly through different international media, like the BBC, Radio Free Asia and forbidden overseas Vietnamese websites like Vietnam Democracy Movement, Vietnam Reform, New Horizon, Thorough Discussion and Democratic Freedom, which are considered subversive by the Vietnamese authorities. Le Cong Dinh was also involved in an indictment against the government because of irregularities concerning a concession for a bauxite-mine.

Le Cong Dinh was arrested on suspicion of violating article 88 of the Penal Code, which prohibits the spreading of propaganda against the regime and other subversive activities, punishable with a jail sentence of 20 years. During his defense of lawyers Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thi Cong Chan, Le Cong Dhi qualified article 88 as ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘in contradiction with international treaties and human rights’. Amnesty International also insisted on repelling the article and other national security articles in the Penal Code. Since 2006, over 30 dissidents have been sentenced to long terms in jail because they questioned politics and human rights.

On 6 June 2009, the president of Vietnam, Nguyen Minh Triet, spoke at the annual congres of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers in Hanoi, where he called for respect and support for the progressive lawyers and criticized those who undermine democracy and human rights. In rash contract with these remarks, Le Cong Dinh was arrested just a few days later.

L4L sent letters to the authorities in June 2009 (find the example letters here). On the first of July 2009, the Ho Chi Minh Bar Association announced that Le Cong Dinh was being disbarred and that the Ministry of Justice revoked his lawyer’s license.

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