Vietnam Le Quoc Quan on hungerstrike
Jailed Vietnamese blogger and human rights lawyer Le Quoc Quan has launched a hunger strike to protest the refusal by prison authorities to provide him access to legal counsel, access to legal and religious books, and access to a priest, ahead of his appeal trial on 18 February 2014 in Hanoi. Le Quoc Quan has been imprisoned since 27 December 2012.
In 2013, the detention of Le Quoc Quan was condemned by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention as a violation of his right to freedom of expression and his right to a fair trial. It found that Le Quoc Quan had been targeted for his work as a lawyer and a blogger and called for his immediate release or for his conviction to be reviewed by an independent court. It also recommended that Viet Nam pays damages to Le Quoc Quan for his arbitrary detention. The government of Viet Nam has yet to respond to this decision.
A broad coalition of NGOs and networks from around the world call on the government of Vietnam to comply with the decision of the United Nations Working Group and release Le Quoc Quan immediately: Media Legal Defence Initiative, Media Defence-Southeast Asia, L4L, Avocats Sans Frontières, Front Line Defenders, Access, English PEN, Reporters Without Borders, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, ARTICLE 19, Index on Censorship, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, the National Endowment for Democracy, the World Movement for Democracy, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and PEN International. They concluded that the conviction and ongoing detention of Le Quoc Quan are arbitrary and violate his internationally protected rights to liberty, timely access to legal counsel and a fair trial. The UN Working Group stated that “the real purpose of the detention and prosecution might eventually be to punish him for exercising his rights [to freedom of expression] and to deter others from doing so.”
Click here for the official press statement.
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