“The support from outside will have a decisive role in determining the victory of freedom and justice inside the courtroom.”
On 27 December 2012 prominent Vietnamese activist and blogger Le Quoc Quan was arbitrarily arrested and detained by local authorities while taking his daughter to school and charged with evading corporate income tax. The arrest and politically-motivated charges were the culmination of years of constant surveillance and harassment over his extensive writing on civil rights, political pluralism, and religious freedom for the BBC, online newspapers, and his blog.
As a lawyer, Quan represented many victims of human rights violations, but was disbarred in 2007 on suspicion of engaging in “activities to overthrow the regime.” Despite these threats, he continued with his human rights advocacy and as a result he has been arrested several times since. In August 2012, he was hospitalized after being severely beaten near his home by unknown assailants—an assault which has not been investigated by Vietnamese authorities.
His trial was delayed after domestic and international calls for his release. But in October 2013, the Hanoi People’s Court sentenced him to 30 months’ imprisonment, which he is serving in Hoa Lo prison in Hanoi. In 2013, Quan's detention was condemned by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention as violating his right to freedom of expression and his right to a fair trial. It found that Quan had been targeted for his work as a lawyer and as 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 should pay damages to Le Quoc Quan for his arbitrary detention. The government of Viet Nam has not responded at all to this decision.
In February 2014, after a four-hour trial and a 30-minute deliberation, a court in Hanoi upheld his conviction. On June 27, 2015, Le Quoc Quan was released following the completion of his sentence.