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Call for the release of Vietnamese lawyer/writer Le Cong Dinh

Le Cong Dinh, who has defended pro-democracy activists and bloggers, is now facing a 20-year jail sentence for spreading propaganda
Le Cong Dinh, who has defended pro-democracy activists and bloggers, is now facing a 20-year jail sentence for spreading propaganda
Le Cong Dinh, a prominent lawyer, writer, blogger, and human rights defender in Vietnam, has represented other writers and right advocates in Vietnamese courts over the past years, courageously taking on cases despite a repressive media environment in the country. Now he needs your help.

Dinh was arrested on 13 June in his home in Ho Chi Minh and faces up to 20 years in jail on charges of distributing anti-state propaganda, sedition and conspiring with subversives. Join the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), International PEN's Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC), Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, ARTICLE 19 and Index on Censorship to demand his immediate release.

The Investigation Agency at the Ministry of Public Security announced that Dinh was arrested because he had reported distorted facts to foreign news agencies and allegedly libelled Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

Dinh is well known for defending human rights lawyers Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thi Cong Nhan when they appealed their prison sentences for spreading anti-government propaganda in 1997.

He also defended in court the famous blogger Dieu Cay for his right to free speech.

His writings about the legal system in Vietnam and the need for independent media have been well received and broadcasted widely on various websites inside and abroad, as well as international media, such as the BBC and Radio Free Asia.

SEAPA believes the charges are flimsy and are meant to silence critical voices in Vietnam. "Dinh's arrest simultaneously sends a chilling message to both writers and advocates on the one hand, and to lawyers who, fully working within the system and respecting Vietnam's laws, represent them on the other."

The Swedish Bar Association has sent out a letter of protest to the Vietnamese authorities about Dinh's arbitrary arrest. Now you can too.

The IFEX members are asking that you write or fax a letter of protest to the Vietnamese embassy in your country. SEAPA has drafted a letter that you are free to use and send on. You can access it on the
SEAPA website For a partial list of Vietnamese embassy addresses, see
EmbassiesAbroad.com You can also sign the
online petition for Dinh

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