ICC NOTE: A Christian human rights lawyer was arrested by Vietnamese police and charged with “spreading propaganda” under Article 88 of the Penal Code according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). It has not been the first time Mr. Dai has spent time in prison as he was charged and sentenced to four years for the same violation of Article 88 in 2007. The arrest comes on the heels of him attempting to speak to the EU delegation which arrived in Vietnam for the EU-Vietnam human rights talks in Hanoi. Mr. Dai has continuously advocated for more education on the people’s rights under the legal system and freedom of religion. Vietnam was previously considered a country of particular concern under the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). They began to reform which removed them from the CPC status, but since then the communist nation has reverted to its previous position on human rights and religious freedom.
12/17/2015 Vietnam (Premier UK) – A Christian anti-persecution charity says it’s concerned after a human rights lawyer was detained in Vietnam.
Nguyen Van Dai was detained on Wednesday while preparing to meet European Union (EU) delegates to the EU-Vietnam human rights talks in Hano.
Mr Dai, a well-known defender of human rights and religious freedom, is facing accusations of “spreading propaganda” under Article 88 of the Penal Code, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).
It was reported that Mr Dai was assaulted earlier this month after attending a conference organised to talk to citizens about their rights.
The discussion including educating people on their right to freedom of religion or belief.
The charge of spreading propaganda carries a long jail term.
Mr Dai has previously served a four year prison sentence after being found guilty under Article 88 for the same charge.
Additionally, Protestant pastor and activist Nguyen Trung Ton, a pro-democracy activist and religious freedom defender, was arrested.
Initial reports which have not yet been confirmed, suggest that he has now been released.
CSW Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said, “We are deeply concerned by the detention of lawyer Nguyen Van Dai and Pastor Nguyen Trung Ton, who have both advocated for the right to freedom of religion or belief for Christians and other religious communities in Vietnam.
“We further note that these detentions took place in the same week that the EU and Vietnam held their annual human rights dialogue.
“These detentions underscore the fact that despite some improvements in the level of religious freedom and the registration of new groups in the past few years, citizens are still not free to fully exercise their human rights and to advocate for the rights of others.
“We call for the immediate release of Mr Dai and Pastor Ton, and urge the Vietnamese government to respect and protect the right to freedom of religion or belief and other human rights in Vietnam.”