Denouncing Vietnamese authorities for preventing Brotherhood for Democracy members to their right to legal access

Brotherhood for Democracy- Press release

January 9, 2018

The Brotherhood for Democracy is an independent civil society organisation legitimately founded according to Vietnamese laws and constitutions as well as international laws regarding civil society.

The organisation was founded on April 4, 2013 with the aim of: promoting human rights and democracy in Vietnam.

Vietnamese authorities have harassed, intimidated and arrested several members of the Brotherhood of Democracy accused of “conducting activities aimed at overthrowing the state” under Article 79 of the Vietnamese Penal Code including:

  1. Nguyen Van Dai arrested on: December 16, 2015
  2. Le Thu Ha arrested on: December 16, 2015
  3. Pham Van Troi arrested on: July 30, 2017
  4. Truong Minh Duc arrested on: July 30, 2017
  5. Nguyen Trung Ton arrested on: July 30, 2017
  6. Nguyen Trung Truc arrested on: August 4, 2017
  7. Nguyen Van Tuc arrested on: September 1 2017
  8. Tran Thi Xuan arrested on: October 17, 2017

Nearly all detained members of the Brotherhood of Democracy were prevented from meeting their defense attorney which their families contracted to act on their behalf. There were instances where members were forced to refuse to see their assigned lawyers (seen in documents).

We vehemently denounce the Vietnamese government for violating the law and preventing defense attorneys from meeting their clients.

Vietnamese officials have specifically violated:

– Article 31.4 of the 2013 Constitution: “Anyone who has been arrested, held in custody, prosecuted, investigated, or brought to trial has the right to self-defend or to seek the assistance of defence from lawyers or other people.”

– Article 57.1 and 57.2 of 2003 Criminal Procedure Code:

  1. Defense counsels shall be selected by persons kept in custody, the accused, defendants or their lawful representatives.
  2. In the following cases, if the accused, defendants or their lawful representatives do not seek the assistance of defense counsels, the investigating bodies, procuracies or courts must request bar associations to assign lawyers quo; offices to appoint defense counsels for such persons or request the Vietnam Fatherland Front Committees or the Front’s member organizations to appoint defense counsels for their organizations members:

a/ The accused or defendants charged with offenses punishable by death as the highest penalty as prescribed by the Penal Code;

b/ The accused or defendants being minors or persons with physical or mental defects.

In the cases specified at Point a and Point b, Clause 2 of this Article, the accused or defendants and their lawful representatives stall have the right to request the change of, or refuse to have, defense counsels.

Or Article 75.1, 75.2, 75.3 of the 2015 Criminal Procedure Code 2015:

  1. Defense counsels are selected by the accused person, his representative or kindred.
  2. In 12 hours upon receiving a written request for defense counsel(s) from an arrestee or temporary detainee, competent authorities managing such arrestee and temporary detainee are responsible for conveying such request to the defense counsel(s), their representatives or kindred. If an arrestee or temporary detainee does not specify a defense counsel, competent authorities managing such arrestee or temporary detainee must impart his written request to a representative or kindred, who shall seek defense counsel(s).

In 24 hours upon receiving a written request for defense counsel(s) from a person held in detention, competent authorities managing such person are responsible for conveying such request to defense counsel(s), their representative or kindred. If a person in detention does not specify a defense counsel, competent authorities managing such person shall give his written request to a representative or kindred, who shall seek defense counsel(s).

  1. If a representative or kin of arrestees, temporary detainees or persons in detention lodge a written request for defense counsel(s), competent authorities are responsible for promptly informing such persons in custody to attain their opinions on soliciting defense counsels.

We demand Vietnamese investigative authorities to comply with the laws stated above and the Vietnamese government to immediately cease harassing, intimidating and arrested Brotherhood for Democracy Members.

Sent to:

Attorney offices representing Brotherhood for Democracy members, Ministry of Public Security and Investigative bodies, Supreme People’s Prosecutor of Vietnam, President of Vietnam, Chairperson of the National Assembly of Vietnam, various foreign embassies and consulates in Vietnam, Amnesty International, United Nations Human Rights Commission, domestic and foreign media, individuals and organisations interested in human rights in Vietnam

Brotherhood for Democracy

[email protected]