On 20th January 2010 , the People’s Supreme Court in Ho Chi
Minh City sentenced Lê Công Định to five years in prison, following a one-day
trial, for “carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s
administration”, under Article 79 of the Vietnamese Penal Code, after he
acknowledged engaging in activities for democratisation and a multiparty
political system in Vietnam.
Định was sentenced
together with three other democracy activists, namely Messrs. Tran Huynh
Duy Thuc, Nguyen Tien Trung and Le Thang Long, who were sentenced to up
to 16 years in prison for promoting multiparty democracy.
The stiffest sentence in the one-day trial was given to Tran Huynh Duy
Thuc, an Internet entrepreneur who testified that he had sought ways to
improve Vietnam's political culture and root out corruption but insisted
he had done nothing wrong. Meanwhile, the court sentenced French-trained IT engineer and blogger Nguyen Tien Trung to 7 years and Le Thang Long to 5 years in
prison. After the four defendants finish serving their sentences, they
will remain under house arrest for 3-5 years.
Lê Công Định, Tran Huynh Duy Thuc and a third defendant
could have been sentenced to death. According to Paris-based Vietnam
Committee on Human Rights (VCHR), the judges’ conclusions had clearly
been pre-prepared. Proceedings that should have lasted two days were
hastily wrapped up in one day. The court is officially reported to have showed leniency because Lê Công Định was obliged to acknowledge
breaking the law during his testimony in order to escape to be sentenced much lower than the penalty framework."From the bottom of
my heart, I myself and these three other defendants had no intention to
overthrow the government," he told the court.
According to a press remlease from the Communist Partry in Viet Nam, the
Court "was favorably taking into account Le
Cong Dinh’s sincere declaration and repentance…".
The trial was carried out under tight
security, with more than a dozen police outside the gate and around the
courthouse. Neither relatives of the accused nor foreign
journalists were allowed into the courtroom. Several foreign diplomats and journalists were
allowed to watch the trial but only via a (badly-transmitted) video
link in an adjacent room of the court.
In addition, reporters were barred from using recording devices, cameras
or mobile phones.
According to the few diplomats who were
allowed to watch the trial , the unfair trial was prepared in advance. Western
diplomats and human rights groups slammed the verdict, saying the
defendants had been punished for peacefully expressing their political
ambassador expressed concern
"about the apparent lack of due process in the conduct of the
trials" and urged immediate release of the prisoners. The European Union
delegation to Vietnam said in a statement, that "The
trial and verdicts are a major and regrettable step backwards for Vietnam"
Công Định, 41, is a prominent human rights lawyer
and the former Vice-President of the Ho Chi Minh City Bar Association. He
runs a private law firm in Ho Chi Minh City. Le Cong Dinh He is a well-respected member of the
Vietnamese and international legal communities, and a former Fulbright
Married to a former Miss Vietnam, Mr Dinh
is also known as a charismatic and active writer and columnist, whose
commentaries on Vietnam's politics and current affairs appeared in many
publications and online forums overseas. Mr Dinh rose to prominence when
he represented Vietnamese fish farmers fighting an
unfair trade complaint brought by U.S. catfish growers. During closing
arguments at a 2007 human rights trial in Hanoi, Dinh made a highly
unusual public plea for freedom of expression.
In recent years, Mr Dinh defended some of Vietnam's leading human
rights and democracy activists. In November 2007 he represented human
rights lawyers Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thi Cong Nhan, two other prominent
prisoners of conscience, at the appeal court hearing against their
sentences. At the hearing he and other lawyers argued that Article 88,
under which the two were charged, is unconstitutional and contravenes
international human rights treaties that Viet Nam has ratified, such as
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and
should therefore be reviewed. He also represented Nguyen Hoang Hai, a
blogger known as Dieu Cay, who was tried in September 2008 on politically
motivated criminal charges for writing critical articles and calling for
human rights.Le Cong Dinh has also been an outspoken critic of recent
bauxite-extraction in the Central Highlands, as well as calling for
political reform in Viet Nam.
Lê Công Định was arrested at his office in Ho Chi Minh
City on 13 June by Public Security police for "colluding with
domestic and foreign reactionaries to sabotage the Vietnamese state"
by publishing documents distorting the country's socio-economic policies,
a senior security official said. He has been charged with “conducting
propaganda” against the state, under Article 88 of the Penal Code. He
was alleged to have been found with a copy of a new constitution he wrote
aiming to replace the current one.
Công Định was charged Mr Dinh with Article 88 of the Vietnam's Criminal Code for
distributing anti-government materials.
Shortly before his arrest, he had spoken out against the extraction
of bauxite in the Central Highlands, and had also called for political
reform in Viet Nam. In recent years, he has also defended several Viet
Nam human rights and democracy activists. In August 2009, he was
compelled to make a public “confession” broadcast on television.
On 1 July 2009, the deputy head of the Ho Chi Minh City Bar
Association told journalists that it had disbarred and that the Ministry
of Justice had revoked his licence, forbidding him to practice law.
Urge the Vietnamese authorities to guarantee in all circumstances
the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Le Cong Dinh and to
release him immediately and unconditionally since his detention is
arbitrary as it only aims at sanctioning his human rights and pro-democracy
Call upon the Vietnamese authorities to put an end to any kind of
harassment - including at the judicial level - against all human rights
defenders in Viet Nam, in conformity with the 1998 UN Declaration on
Human Rights Defenders as well as with international and regional human
rights instruments ratified by Viet Nam.
IDHAE LETTER (Addresses
LETTRE IDHAE (Adresses ci-dessous)
[votre nom ici]
Monsieur le Président,
Monsieur le Ministre,
Je tiens à vous exprimer ma
profonde émotion à la suite de la
condamnation de mon
confrère, Me Le Cong Dinh, avocat
spécialisé dans la défense des droits de l'homme et ancien vice président
de l'ordre des avocats d’Ho Chi Minh-Ville.
Me Le Cong Dinh avait été arrêté le 13 juin dans son
cabinet uniquement pour avoir
exercé pacifiquement son droit à la liberté d’expression.
A la suite d'un procès d'une journée ,
le 20 janvier 2010, l'avocat,
Me Lê Công Định,
bien connu pour avoir exercé sa mission d’avocat en défendant
notamment des confrères militant
pour les droits de l'Homme, a été condamné à une peine de cinq ans de prison.
Vous n’ignorez pas que
les chefs de mission de l’Union européenne à Hanoi ont exprimé leur vive préoccupation à
l’issue du procès et que les diplomates qui ont pu y assister ont estimé
qu’il s’agissait d’un jugement contraire aux "obligations"
internationales du Vietnam en matière de droits de l'Homme.
Car, lors du
même procès, en même temps que l’avocat,
trois autres militants pour la démocratie, qui avaient été arrêtées dans la même
période, Nguyễn Tiến Trung, 26 ans, diplômé de l’école
d’ingénieurs INSA Rennes en France, Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, 43 ans, et Le
Thang Long, 42 ans, ont été condamnées à des peines de cinq à 16 ans de
prison, pour tentative de renversement du régime communiste.
informé de ce que la
Cour a reproché aux militants d'avoir tenté de
renverser le gouvernement par des moyens "non violents",
notamment via de la "propagande" contre le régime sur
l'internet, parce qu’il souhaitaient
la formation d'un mouvement démocratique.
m'apparaît qu'une circulation libre de l'information et le partage
d'idées sont vitaux pour le développement à long terme de la société
Je demande donc instamment au
gouvernement vietnamien :
vouloir prendre toute les mesures pour réviser la décision rendue,
d’abandonner les charges retenues contre Me Le Cong Dinh et de le libérer
immédiatement et sans condition, ainsi que ses trois autres condamnés du
2O janvier 2010.
à modifier ou à abroger les dispositions du Code pénal de 1999 qui
érigent en infraction la contestation politique pacifique, ainsi qu’à
faire respecter les droits à la liberté d’expression et d’association,
conformément aux traités relatifs aux droits humains que le Viêt-Nam a
Je vous prie de croire, Monsieur le Président, à l’expression de ma
[votre signature ici]
His Excellency Nguyên
de la République
C/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs
socialiste du Viêt-Nam Son Excellence / Monsieur le President de la République,
Nguyên Tân Dung
1 Hoang Hoa Tham Street
socialiste du Viêt-Nam
844 823 1872 (via le ministère des Affaires étrangères)
Courriers électroniques : [Email] (via le ministère des Affaires
Formule d’appel : Dear Prime Minister, / Monsieur le Premier
Ministre de la Sécurité publique :
Le Hong Anh
Ministry of Public Security
44 Yet Kieu Street
République socialiste du Viêt-Nam
Fax : + 844 825 2733
Formule d’appel : Dear Minister, / Monsieur le Ministre,
Ministre de la Santé :
Tran Thi Trung Chien
Ministry of Health
138A Giang Vo Street Ban Dinh District Ha Noi République socialiste du
Viêt-Nam Fax : + 844 826 5303
Formule d’appel : Dear Minister, / Madame la