Release of Le Cong Dinh

Dear Sirs/Madams:

H.E. Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to Indonesia

This is to express my deep concern over the Vietnamese authorities’ arrest on 13 June 2009 of Le Cong Dinh, an established lawyer, writer, and defender of free expression and human rights.

The charges brought against Mr. Dinh, including allegations that he was distributing “anti-state propaganda” could carry the penalty of up to 20 years’ imprisonment. Given his reputation and experience as a defender of other writers and advocates of human rights and democracy in Vietnam, Mr. Dinh’s arrest is a simultaneous attack on two sectors vital to democratic reform in Vietnam or any society. It sends a chilling message not only to other writers and citizens who peacefully advocate for change, but also to those in the legal community who would defend the Vietnamese people’s right to free expression.

I, thus call for the immediate and unconditional release of Le Cong Dinh. We urge the Vietnamese government to assure and ensure transparency and fairness in the consideration of the charges brought against Mr. Dinh, by giving him access to his lawyers, and allowing independent media access to any and all future proceedings. We would also ask that the international legal community to which Mr. Dinh belongs, and within which he is a respected and recognized champion of democracy and human rights, be allowed to monitor all proceedings against Mr. Dinh, so as to hopefully attest to the transparency and fairness he and the Vietnamese people deserve.

Thank you.

Anggara, Jakarta, Indonesia

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