Call of Mrs Marie-Luise Dött, Member of the German Bundestag
September 19, 2016
A human rights defender needs your support
The Vietnamese human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai has been detained in Hanoi, Viet Nam, since 16 December 2015. He stands accused of “propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam”. If convicted, he faces between three and 20 years in prison. Dai has been detained incommunicado since his arrest. I have agreed to act as the parliamentary sponsor for Nguyen Van Dai and am working closely with the human rights organisation “VETO! Human Rights Defenders’ Network” to press for his release.
I met Nguyen Van Dai while visiting Viet Nam with a delegation last year. As a young man, Dai was in East Germany as a contract worker at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification. These events profoundly influenced his political thinking, and led him, after his return to his home country, to study law and campaign for the democratisation of Viet Nam. He runs seminars on the subject of human rights and the rule of law, for example. Dai was already imprisoned from 2007 to 2011 for this educational work, with the Vietnamese leadership accusing him of “propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam”. A subsequent period of house arrest officially ended in March 2015. He was also expelled by the Vietnamese Lawyers’ Association and barred from practice. On 16 December 2015, he was once again arrested on the charge of “propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam”; this came just one day after the EU’s annual human rights dialogue with Viet Nam, as Dai was on his way to a meeting with EU representatives. Since his arrest, he has had no contact with either his family or a lawyer. Nguyen Van Dai has been detained incommunicado for nine months.
This is a completely unacceptable situation, all facets of which violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Viet Nam is a signatory. I would also point out that Viet Nam is a member of the UN Human Rights Council, and has thus made a special commitment in this regard – which it is not honouring. The human rights situation in Viet Nam is catastrophic!
Over the past few weeks, I have asked many parliamentarians for their support in relation to Dai’s case. They have signed a joint letter to the Vietnamese government, in which we call for freedom for Nguyen Van Dai. Please lend us your voice too!
Member of the German Bundestag
September 14, 2016