NEWS RELEASE: OHCHR says concerned about arrest of Viet Nam human rights defender
BANGKOK (17 December 2015) – The United Nations Human Rights Office for South-East Asia (OHCHR) is seriously concerned by the arrest of well-known Vietnamese human rights defender Mr. Nguyen Van Dai, and calls for his immediate release.
Dai, a prominent lawyer and founder of the Committee for Human Rights in Viet Nam, was arrested at his home on 16 December and charged with anti-state “propaganda” (under article 88 of the Penal Code), an offence that carries a jail term of between 3 to 12 years. Police also confiscated his computer and cellphone.
Dai’s arrest comes 10 days after he and three other human rights defenders were beaten following a training forum in Nam Dan District, Nghe An Province. OHCHR is aware of at least two other similar cases since September, and we are concerned about what seems to be an emerging and disturbing pattern of violent attacks against human rights defenders.
OHCHR is concerned that Dai’s arrest and detention is due to his peaceful and legitimate human rights work in Viet Nam.
Dai was arrested in 2007 on the same charge.