2 October 2013
Bangkok, Thailand — The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) said the conviction today of Le Quoc Quan, a lawyer and human rights defender in Vietnam, violated international standards governing the right to a fair trial.
Judge Le Thi Hop of the People’s Court of Hanoi convicted and sentenced Le Quoc Quan to 30 months imprisonment with time served since late December 2012 to be taken into account.
His company was ordered to pay the unpaid tax amount of 645 million VND (approximately USD 30,000) and fine of 1.3 billion VND (approximately USD 60,000) for the offence of tax evasion under section 161 of the Vietnamese Penal Code.
One of Le Quoc Quan’s accountants, Phuong, was sentenced to eight months imprisonment.
Edmund Bon, a prominent Malaysian attorney and the ICJ’s appointed trial observer, was denied entry into court.
Police barricaded the courthouse to keep out hundreds of demonstrators protesting the perceived harassment of Le Quoc Quan.
“The court did not dispel the widespread belief that this case is political in nature and intended to silence a government critic,” Edmund Bon said. “The verdict was delivered after a 30-minute deliberation and the judge took about an hour to read the written grounds of judgment.”