Vietnam Joint letter for Le Cong Dinh
On 16 November 2012, L4L, together with Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (LWRC) and The Law Society of England and Wales (The Society), sent a letter to the Vietnamese authorities and to the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers. In this letter the organizations asked for attention for the situation of Le Cong Dinh, human rights lawyer from Vietnam.
Le Cong Dinh is the managing partner of the prominent law firm DC Law, and a former vice-president of the Ho Chi Minh Bar Association. Le Cong Dinh represented journalists, human rights activists, writers, bloggers and lawyers, including the lawyers Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thi Cong Nhan. He has also been published on a regular basis through various international media such as the BBC, Radio Free Asia (RFA) and prohibited overseas Vietnamese websites deemed subversive by the Vietnamese authorities.
On 13 June 2009 members of the Vietnamese security service invaded the office of Le Cong Dinh and arrested him. On 1 July 2009 the Ho Chi Minh Bar Association announced that Le Cong Dinh had been struck from the register and that the Ministry of Justice had revoked his law license.
On 20 January 2010 he received a five-year prison sentence. The reason for the prosecution and the disciplinary procedure is that in November 2007, during the trial of his clients Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thi Cong Nhan, Le Cong Ding called Article 88 of the Criminal Code ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘contrary to international treaties and human rights’. Article 88 prohibits the spreading of propaganda against the regime and engaging in subversive activities, which carry a maximum prison term of 20 years.
In January 2010, Lawyers for Lawyers already called on the Vietnamese authorities to release Mr. Dinh immediately and unconditionally as he had been arrested solely for his lawful human rights activities and his lawful activities as a lawyer. Furthermore, Lawyers for Lawyers called upon the Vietnamese authorities to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Le Cong Dinh.
However, we have now received information that Mr. Dinh currently is being held in poor conditions at a high security prison in Ho Chi Minh City. He has lost considerable weight, his hair is falling out due to stress and poor nutrition and he is in poor health. He continues to be denied access to his lawyers and is permitted to see his wife only once a month for 30 minutes under close supervision by prison officials.
In the letter that was sent to the authorities, L4L, LWRC and The Society called on the Vietnamese authorities again to release Le Cong Dinh and to guarantee his physical and psychological integrity. Click here for the letter.
In the letter that was sent to Gabriela Knaul, the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, L4L, LWRC and The Society called on Mrs. Knaul to take action within the framework of her mandate. Click here for the letter.
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