Urgent appeal for Vietnamese human rights lawyer and blogger, Le Quoc Quan
Media Defence-Southeast Asia (MD-SEA) and MLDI today submitted an urgent appeal to the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression to take action to secure the immediate release of Vietnamese blogger and human rights activist Le Quoc Quan.
Mr Quan was arrested on 27 December 2012 on charges of alleged tax evasion. He has been held incommunicado and went on hunger strike on December 30. The current state of his health is unknown.
Mr Quan is a prominent human rights activist and blogger. On his popular blog, he exposes human rights abuses and other issue not covered by Vietnamese state media. Mr Quan also defended human rights in court as a lawyer, until he was disbarred in 2007 on suspicion of engaging in “activities to overthrow the regime”. He has been arrested several times in relation to his work as a human rights activist. In August 2012, Mr Quan suffered a violent attack near his house upon which he was hospitalised.
The December 2012 arrest took place when Mr Quan was dropping his daughter off at school. The police also searched his home and office. The maximum penalty Mr Quan faces if prosecuted is three years imprisonment and a considerable fine.
MD-SEA and MLDI do not believe there is any merit in the charges and that they have been brought solely to punish Mr Quan for his blogging and activism. We have called on the Special Rapporteur to urgently intervene to secure Le Quoc Quan’s immediate release and declare Mr Quan’s arrest and continuing detention a gross violation of human rights.