CASE HISTORY: NGUYEN VAN DAI

On 7 June 2018, Nguyen Van Dai và Brotherhood for Democracy colleague Le Thu Ha were released from prison and exiled khổng lồ Germany. Nguyen Van Dai had served two months of a 15-year prison sentence at the time of his release, in addition khổng lồ the 28 months Nguyen Van Dai had spent in detention following his arrest in December 2015.

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On 5 April 2018, a Ha Noi court found Nguyễn Văn uống Đài, Trương Minh Đức, Nguyễn Trung Tôn, Nguyễn Bắc Truyển, Lê Thu Hà, và Pmê say Văn Trội guilty of “carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration.” On 10 & 11 April 2018, courts in Tnhị Binc and Nghe An found Nguyễn Văn Tuc & Trần Thị Xuân guilty of the same offence. Lengthy sentences were handed down by the court lớn the eight human rights defenders, who are all members of Brotherhood for Democracy.

On 30 July 2017, after over 19 months since his arrest, Vietnamese authorities charged human rights defender Nguyen Van Dai with “carrying out activities with the purpose of overthrowing the Peoples’ administration”. If convicted, he faces a prison sentence of between 12 and đôi mươi years, life imprisonment or capital punishment.


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Nguyen Van Dai is the co-founder of the Vietnam giới Human Rights Committee và a pro-democracy activist. He has provided legal assistance lớn citizens vocal against human rights violations committed by the government and members of religious minorities và has faced judicial harassment in the past.


Meet Nguyen Van Dai
11 July 2018
Nguyen Van Dai và Le Thu Ha released from prison và exiled to Germany

On 7 June 2018, Nguyen Van Dai & Brotherhood for Democracy colleague Le Thu Ha were released from prison and exiled lớn Germany. Nguyen Van Dai had served two months of a 15-year prison sentence at the time of his release, in addition khổng lồ the 28 months Nguyen Van Dai had spent in detention following his arrest in December năm ngoái. Both Nguyen Van Dai và Le Thu Ha elected not to lớn appeal their guilty verdicts, handed down on 5 April 2018, due khổng lồ lack of faith in Vietnam’s justice system. Nguyen Van Dai is joined in exile by his wife.

Front Line Defenders celebrates Nguyen Van Dai’s release from wrongful imprisonment, but regrets that the cost of this freedom is the defender’s exile from Vietnam giới.


On 5 April 2018, a Ha Noi court found Nguyễn Vnạp năng lượng Đài, Trương Minch Đức, Nguyễn Trung Tôn, Nguyễn Bắc Truyển, Lê Thu Hà, & Pmê mệt Văn Trội guilty of “carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration.” On 10 & 11 April 2018, courts in Tnhị Binh & Nghe An found Nguyễn Văn Tuc and Trần Thị Xuân guilty of the same offence. Lengthy sentences were handed down by the court khổng lồ the eight human rights defenders, who are all members of Brotherhood for Democracy.

Brotherhood for Democracy is an association of Vietnamese activists founded in April 2013. In an effort khổng lồ promote democracy và human rights in Vietphái nam, the association provides human rights training & education lớn Vietnamese citizens throughout the country. Brotherhood for Democracy assists victims of government corruption, land appropriation, and corporate negligence lớn file legal suits in defense of their rights.

Nguyễn Văn uống Đài, a human rights attorney and founding member of Brotherhood for Democracy, received the longest sentence: 15 years’ imprisonment and 5 years’ probation. Nguyễn Văn Tuc, deputy head of Brotherhood for Democracy, was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment and 3 years’ probation. Journalist Trương Minh Đức and pastor Nguyễn Trung Tôn each received sentences of 12 years, along with 3 years’ probation. 11 years’ imprisonment & 3 years’ probation were handed down lớn lawyer Nguyễn Bắc Truyển. Lê Thu Hà, secretary & translator for the Brotherhood for Democracy, received a 9 year sentence with 2 years’ probation, while engineer Pđê mê Văn uống Trội was sentenced khổng lồ 7 years in prison and 1 year probation. Activist Trần Thị Xuân, whose trial took place without any prior notice khổng lồ her family, was sentenced khổng lồ 9 years’ imprisonment & 5 years’ probation.

“Carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration” is one of the most severe allegations human rights defenders face in Vietnam. The charge has been widely criticized as being both overly vague & unreasonably punitive. Those found khổng lồ be the “main perpetrators” can be sentenced to lớn death, life imprisonment, or between twelve & twenty years in prison. To date, the charge has been used extensively against dissidents & pro-democracy activists, despite scant evidence of perpetrators’ intention to “overthrow the people’s administration”. The charge against one defender tried on 5 April in Ha Noi was “conducting English classes” for members of the Brotherhood for Democracy, along with translating reports for foreign donors.

Under Vietnamese law, the human rights defenders have fifteen days lớn appeal the court’s decision.

Nguyễn Văn Đài & Lê Thu Hà had been awaiting trial since their arrest in December 2015. Trương Minch Đức, Nguyễn Bắc Truyển, and Pđắm say Văn uống Trội also had prolonged detentions; they were arrested in July 2017 following coordinated actions across three cities. Nguyễn Văn uống Tuc had been held in detention since 1 September 2017 & Trần Thị Xuân had been detained since 17 October 2017.

The human rights defenders were granted extremely limited access to lớn their families and to their legal counsel during their detentions. In some cases, the human rights defenders’ family members were never formally notified of the trial’s date. Trần Thị Xuân’s family learned about her 12 April trial only after it ended, & the human rights defender’s legal counsel was not present during the court proceedings.

Front Line Defenders calls on the Vietnamese authorities to lớn rescind the court’s decision và to quash the sentences against Nguyễn Văn uống Đài, Trương Minch Đức, Nguyễn Bắc Truyển, Lê Thu Hà, Nguyễn Trung Tôn, Pham Văn Trội, Nguyễn Vnạp năng lượng Tuc, và Trần Thị Xuân. Front Line Defenders believes that the allegations are solely intended to lớn stop the peaceful work of these human rights defenders.


On 30 July 2017, after over 19 months since his arrest, Vietnamese authorities charged human rights defender Nguyen Van Dai with “carrying out activities with the purpose of overthrowing the Peoples’ administration”. If convicted, he faces a prison sentence of between 12 và 20 years, life imprisonment or capital punishment.

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On 30 July 2017, following 19 months of investigative sầu detention, Nguyen Van Dai was charged with “carrying out activities with the purpose of overthrowing the Peoples’ administration” under article 79 of the Penal Code by the Ministry of Public Security. Upon his arrest on 16 December năm ngoái, he was charged under article 88 of the Penal Code, related lớn “spreading propaganda against the Sociacác mục Republic of Vietnam”. It remains unclear whether Nguyen Van Dai is still facing this charge or not.

Front Line Defenders strongly condemns the charges against, và prolonged detention, of human rights defender Nguyen Van Dai, và calls on the Vietnamese authorities khổng lồ immediately release the human rights defender.


15 May 2017 marks one month since human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai last accepted a food package from his family. According to the authorities at the Hanoi-based B14 detention facility, Nguyen Van Dai has since rejected food supplements from his relatives, in a likely bid lớn prochạy thử the extension of his pre-trial detention. On 21 April 2017, the Supreme People’s Procuracy of Vietphái nam extended the investigation period inkhổng lồ Nguyen Van Dai by two months, bringing his total pre-trial detention lớn 18 months.

In a letter sent to Nguyen Van Dai’s lawyer Ha Huy Son dated 21 April 2017, the Supreme People’s Procuracy announced it had extended the investigation period prior to the Court taking up the case by two months. Nguyen Van Dai has been held in Hanoi since 16 December 2015, after he was arrested by the police for “conducting propaganda against the state of the Sociadanh mục Republic of Vietnam”, which falls under article 88 of the Vietnamese Penal Code. After the initial four months pre-trial detention period ended, the police extended it three times for four months each. The investigation period was supposed to lớn kết thúc on 16 April 2017. The Court will only take up the case once the investigation is over, leaving Nguyen Van Dai behind bars. If convicted, he faces up khổng lồ 20 years in prison.

Since his arrest, Nguyen Van Dai has not been allowed khổng lồ meet with his lawyer, while his wife has only been permitted to lớn visit hyên twice, on 16 December 2015 & on 17 January 2017. According to lớn the Vietnamese Code of Criminal Procedure, Nguyen Van Dai’s lawyers will be allowed khổng lồ meet with hyên to prepare his defence once the police agency completes its investigation.

The conditions in Vietnamese jails và detention facilities are extremely poor and families of prisoners often have khổng lồ provide food packages for them periodically. Prisoners are also allowed to lớn receive money from their relatives lớn purchase food and other items at the jail’s canteens, which often sell substandard goods at prices much higher than those in the market. Nguyen Van Dai’s rejection of food packages from his family points to a worrying development và there are legitimate fears for his health.

On 3 April 2017, Nguyen Van Dai was awarded the 2017 Human Rights prize by the German Association of Judges. His wife Vu Minc Kkhô giòn was blocked at Noi Bai airport on her way lớn attover the sự kiện in Germany.

Front Line Defenders condemns the Supreme People"s Procuracy of Vietnam’s decision to extend the pre-trial detention of Nguyen Van Dai & urges the Vietnamese authorities to lớn drop all charges brought against hlặng, as it believes they are directly linked lớn his peaceful and legitimate work in defence of human rights in Vietphái mạnh. 


On 24 October năm nhâm thìn, 73 members of parliament from around the world sent an open letter to lớn Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc calling for immediate and unconditional release of Vietnamese lawyer Nguyễn Văn uống Đài and his assistant Lê Thu Hà. 

Read the mở cửa Letter Here


On 16 December năm ngoái, Nguyen Van Dai was arrested by the police for "conducting propaganda against the state of the Sociadanh mục Republic of Vietnam", which falls under article 88 of the Vietnamese Penal Code. The house of the human rights defender was searched and several belongings were confiscated, including: two laptops, one desktop computer, several USB sticks, a camera, two camcorders, books on human rights, four envelopes containing money that Nguyen Van Dai uses lớn support relatives of prisoners of conscience in Vietphái mạnh, and his savings account’s ngân hàng book. The human rights defender will be temporarily jailed for four months at the B14 Prison in Hanoi. His case is currently under investigation and if convicted he could face up to twenty years in prison.

This is not the first time Nguyen Van Dai has been detained by Vietnamese authorities. He was arrested in 2007 on charges of propaganda against the state & spent four years in prison, and then spent a further four years under house arrest. Despite an official release from house arrest in March 2015, the human rights defender has been kept under police surveillance.

The situation for human rights defenders in Vietphái nam has become increasingly tense in recent months, as the Vietnamese government has tightened control ahead of the ruling communist party’s National Congress in January 2016. There is a persistent pattern, in recent months, of physical assaults against human rights defenders and bloggers which are perpetrated either by police officers or unidentified people against government critics và social activists.

Former prisoners of conscience Do Thi Minc Hanh, Truong Minc Duc, Tran Minc Nhat, Chu Manh Son & Tran Duc Thach, human rights lawyers Nguyen Van Dai, Tran Thu Nam and Le Van Luan, bloggers Truong Van Dung, Tran Thi Nga, Truong Minch Huong and Nguyen Tuong Thuy are ahy vọng the victims of the intensified persecution by Vietnam’s security forces, which strive khổng lồ prevent the formation of any opposition parties or movements.


On 6 December năm ngoái, masked plain clothes agents, travelling in two cars without registration plates & five sầu motorbikes, stopped the group of human rights defenders, who was travelling in a xe taxi to Hanoi.

The agents beat the four human rights defenders và the driver with iron batons. Vu Van Minh, Ly Quany Son và Le Manh Thang managed lớn escape from the attackers, however Nguyen Van Dai was further beaten. The attackers robbed all four men"s sản phẩm điện thoại phones, wallets and other items.

The situation for human rights defenders in Vietnam giới has become increasingly tense in recent months, as the Vietnamese communist government has tightened control ahead of the ruling communist party’s National Congress in January năm nhâm thìn. There is a persisting pattern of physical assaults against human rights defenders & bloggers which are perpetrated either by police officers or unidentified people against government critics và social activists in recent months. Former prisoners of conscience Do Thi Minch Hanh, Truong Minc Duc, Tran Minh Nhat, Chu Manh Son & Tran Duc Thach, human rights lawyers Tran Thu Nam and Le Van Luan, bloggers Truong Van Dung, Tran Thi Nga, Truong Minc Hương & Nguyen Tuong Thuy are aước ao the victims of the intensified persecution by Vietnam’s security forces which strive to prevent the formation of any opposition parties or movements.