August 17, 2012
Today marks four months of arbitrary detention in a Vietnamese jail for Dr. Nguyen Quoc Quan. A California resident and father of two, Dr. Quan was detained upon arriving at Tan Son Nhat Airport in Saigon – an act promptly denounced by lawmakers from the United States, Europe, and Australia. A long-time member of Viet Tan, Dr. Quan is actively involved with the promotion of peaceful civic action.
Days following Dr. Quan’s arrest in April, state-controlled media reported that he is being investigated for “terrorism” under Article 84 of the Vietnamese penal code. Communist Vietnam’s legal system allows for a political prisoner to be held without trial for an initial four month period that can be renewed up to three times. As is the case with many other democracy activists, Dr. Quan is currently denied access to legal counsel with little hope for due process.
The practice of using ill-defined national security laws to stifle dissent is a trademark of Hanoi’s “rule by law”, with authorities often citing involvement with Viet Tan or any pro-democracy party as the reason for arbitrary detention. It is in this environment that Dr. Quan and many other activists endeavor to realize social justice in Vietnam. Despite the many arrests, Vietnamese citizens are bravely staging weekly peaceful demonstrations to voice their discontent.
Viet Tan challenges the Hanoi regime to prove its accusations against Dr. Nguyen Quoc Quan in the court of Vietnamese and international public opinion. The regime must explain why participation in peaceful political advocacy is considered “terrorism.”
Viet Tan will continue to campaign for the unconditional and immediate release of Dr. Quan and all other human rights defenders unjustly detained in Vietnam.
Biography: A resident of California, Dr. Nguyen Quoc Quan, 58 years old, received his doctorate in mathematics from North Carolina State University. He is a former high school teacher in Vietnam, long time democracy activist and member of Viet Tan. He was previously detained in November 2007 and held for six months for distributing materials promoting nonviolent tactics for civil resistance. After his release from prison in May 2008, Dr. Quan continued his pro-democracy work.
Contact: Duy Hoang +1.202.470.0845