Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Update on Nguyen Van Dai

Elizabeth Kendal updates the case of Nguyen Van Dai, writing in Journal Chretien. She reports that Dai has been charged with violating Article 88 of the Criminal Code by "propagandizing against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam". Sources say Dai will be accused of consorting with certain "extremist elements" to produce evidence of religious suppression in Vietnam. For his part, in an interview two days before his arrest, Dai denied he violated Article 88, because he was in no way involved in attempting to instigate violent revolution.

Dai said that as a lawyer, he provided legal assistance to most of the nation's political dissidents, and was consequently harassed by police, frequently called in for interrogation, his phone lines cut. The official Vietnam News Agency denounced Dai, stating that he and his colleague Le Thi Cong Ngan have been removed from the Hanoi Bar (Decision No. 69/QD-BCN), his law office closed, and added investigations revealed:

"that since 2004, Nguyen Van Dai took advantage of the State's permission to establish the Thien An Lawyers' Office and the Viet Luat [Translation and Legal Consultation] company to spread propaganda, lure forces and collude with political opportunists as well as hostile forces at home and abroad which oppose the State. Their acts run counter to the interests of the nation and people."

Sources: Journal Chretien, March 20
Y Kien, March 5
Vietnam News Agency/Vietnam Net Bridge, March 13

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