United Nations speaks out against conviction of Vietnamese lawyer

Oct. 4, 2013 at 1:20 PM
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HANOI, Vietnam, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- The United Nations Friday urged Vietnam to reconsider the conviction of human rights lawyer Le Quoc Quan, who was found guilty of tax evasion.

Quan was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay a $60,000 fine, the U.N. Human Rights Office said in a release.

"We are alarmed by the fact that the conviction against Mr. Le Quoc Quan was handed down after only one day of trial, and there have been allegations of restrictions of access to the court by his family and supporters," said Rupert Colville, the spokesman for the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). "This casts doubts whether his right to fair trial and due process were fully respected."

Quan's conviction has brought on comparisons to Nguyen Van Hai Hai, also known as Dieu Cay, a prominent blogger and founder of the "Club of Free Journalists of Viet Nam" website who was sentenced to 12 years in prison and five years probation in 2008 for tax evasion.

"We urge the Government of Viet Nam to review such convictions and trial proceedings which continue to seriously threaten and curb the right to freedom of expression, opinion and association in the country," Colville said.

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