Call for renewed UN action to release Dinh Cong Le
A request for urgent action has been filed with three UN Special Rapporteurs, calling for the urgent release of Vietnamese lawyer and member of Media Defence Southeast Asia, Dinh Cong Le.
MLDI and US media lawyer Rob Balin have filed an urgent request with the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Expression and Human Rights Defenders for the release of Vietnamese human rights lawyer and member of Media Defence Southeast Asia, Dinh Cong Le.
Until his arrest in late 2009, Dinh Cong Le was a prominent lawyer and among the few in his profession who dared to stand up and defend the rights of bloggers and political dissidents. He defended well known Vietnamese blogger Dieu Cay as well as fellow lawyers Nguyen Van Dai and Li Chi Cong Nhan, who were convicted for conducting propaganda against the State in 2007.
Dinh was not afraid to stand up in court and demand that the rights of bloggers and journalists be protected. He also advocated for democracy and true implementation of the right to freedom of expression – constitutionally guaranteed to all in theory, but denied to most in practice. For this, he was disbarred and is currently serving a long prison term.
In January 2010, Dinh Cong Le was convicted for “carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the State” and sentenced to five years imprisonment, to be followed by three years house arrest. He is currently detained in poor conditions at a high security prison where his health is deteriorating.
Previous calls for his release have gone unheeded and by filing the present request, MLDI aims to draw renewed attention to Dinh’s plight as well as the deteriorating situation for free speech in Vietnam generally.
Dinh’s case is just one of many resulting from the growing repression of bloggers and critics of the regime. MLDI recently challenged the injustice suffered by Vietnamese blogger Dieu Cay and four activists sentenced on charges of conducting propaganda against the State, as well as the prosecution of a group of 17 young Catholic bloggers in the country.