The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has sent a letter to Vietnam’s Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and Ministry of Public Security (MPS) urging a halt to the continued harassment and criminal investigations of human rights lawyers Dang Dinh Manh and Nguyen Van Mieng for allegedly “abusing democratic freedoms” under article 331 of Vietnam’s Penal Code.
The ICJ reiterates its concerns that the undue criminal investigations against Dang Dinh Manh and Nguyen Van Mieng aim to impair their work as lawyers and their exercise of the right to freedom of expression, protected under international human rights law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.
The ICJ previously submitted an open letter on 13 March 2023 to the MOJ and MPS requesting them to take steps to cease the use of arbitrary criminal investigations against Dang Dinh Manh and other lawyers in relation to their work.
Since then, Dang Dinh Manh has reportedly received two additional letters summoning him for an interrogation by the Long An Police. Similarly, Nguyen Van Mieng has received three letters summoning him for an interrogation by the Long An Police. Dang Dinh Manh, Nguyen Van Mieng and three other lawyers represented clients in the Tinh That Bong Lai Temple case.
The ICJ calls on the MOJ and MPS to take immediate steps to:
- Cease the use of arbitrary criminal investigations against Dang Dinh Manh and other lawyers that are aimed at impairing their work as human rights lawyers and their right to freedom of expression;
- Take measures with a view to repealing or substantially amending article 331 of the Penal Code, in compliance with international human rights law that protect the right to freedom of expression and information; and
- Take all necessary measures to ensure the free exercise of the legal profession, in all circumstances, so that lawyers may exercise their legitimate professional rights and duties without fear of reprisals and free from all restrictions, including harassment through legal processes.
To download the letter, click here.
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