German Commissioner Meets with Jailed Human Rights Lawyer Le Quoc Quan

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June 10, 2015

Mr. Christophe Strässer, commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the German Federal Foreign Office, has recently met with human rights lawyer Le Quoc Quan in a Quang Nam province-based prison where he is serving a 30-month sentence due to a fabricated tax evasion allegation.

The meeting was about 30 minutes and Mr. Quan was very emotional, Mr. Strässer noted.

It was part of Mr. Strässer’s trip to the southern and central regions.

Mr. Strässer visited Vietnam on June 3-9. Along with meeting with state officials, he met with a number of representatives of local independent social organizations.

During the meeting with Mr. Strässer in Hanoi on June 4, blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh (aka Me Nam or Mushroom Mother), co-founder of the Vietnam Blogger Network reported the recent brutal attack of Vietnamese police against blogger Pham Thanh Nghien, who was imprisoned for peaceful protests against China’s violations of the Vietnamese sovereignty. Miss Nghien has been a subject of regular harassment of the local authorities in Haiphong city.

Quynh also reported the progress of the Campaign to Promote Human Rights in 2015.

Commissioner Strässer said that during official talks with senior officials from the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security where he raised concerns about 23 cases of arbitrary detention as well as the recent brutal assault against Hanoi-based activist Nguyen Chi Tuyen.

During his stay in Hanoi, Mr. Strässer met with Dr. Nguyen Quang A, human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai and blogger Nguyen Chi Tuyen. German Ambassador Jutta Frasch to Vietnam and Counselor for politics and human rights Felix Schwarz also attended the meeting.

Mr. Strässer said that he pays special attention to Vietnam’s ongoing efforts to promote human rights.

Vietnam is an important partner of Germany in the Southeast Asia and human right issues are also part of the two countries’ relations, he said, adding the two sides still have big differences in human rights.

in recent years, Vietnam has big progress in human rights, however, the country still has to improve its human rights records, especially in civil and political rights, Commissioner Strässer noted.

Meanwhile, Mr. Pham Ba Hai, coordinator of the Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience, was barred by Saigon police from going to meet with Commissioner Strässer at the Ho Chi Minh City-based German General Consulate on June 9. A day earlier, security agents have come and informed him that he will be forbidden to meet the Commissioner of Germany.

Vietnam and Germany set up diplomatic relations 40 years ago. In 2011, the two countries elevated their ties to strategic partnership.

Currently, Germany is one of leading economic partners of Vietnam in the EU.

Source: Vietnam HRD

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