Vietnam Nguyen Van Dai attacked by plainclothes police
16 May 2014

Vietnam Nguyen Van Dai attacked by plainclothes police

On 8 May 2014 human rights lawyer and blogger Nguyen Van Dai was attacked and wounded by a group of six men, when he was in a bar with some colleagues and students.

Nguyen Van Dai is, since his return to Vietnam after years in Eastern-Germany, a well-known human rights activist. He has been under control of government officials for many years now, and is under house arrest since 2011. This house arrest followed on the four years imprisonment he was sentenced to in 2007 for propaganda against the state. Nguyen Van Dai founded the Committee for Human Rights of Vietnam and his work as a human rights lawyer and blogger is disapproved by the Vietnam authorities.

His imprisonment and house arrest have not stopped Nguyen Van Dai from promoting human rights. Besides his work as a lawyer, he teaches students and other who are interested on human rights topics, and he writes blogs and articles. As a result he regularly has to answer to the authorities and he is under constant government control and intimidation. To increase the intimidating effect and to prevent international critiques, the authorities choose more and more to use plainclothes police or let – hired – civilians do the intimidations. This is not an isolated incident in Vietnam; other human rights activists, such as lawyer Le Quoc Quan and his brother, are also subjected to intimidation.

Attempts as these by the Vietnamese government to silence human rights lawyers and to frighten potential critics are not in line with the Basic Principles for the Role of Lawyers. L4L had earlier organised letter writing campaigns for Nguyen Van Dai in January 2010 and May 2011. The incident on 8 May demands ongoing attention and action.

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