Viet Nam: UN protests jailing of Vietnam human rights lawyer

GENEVA (AFP) – The UN’s human rights body on Friday protested the jailing of one of Vietnam’s best known dissidents in a tax evasion case denounced by international rights campaigners as politically motivated.

“We are seriously concerned by the conviction and sentencing of Mr Le Quoc Quan, a prominent human rights lawyer,” Mr Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN high commissioner for human rights, told reporters.

Le Quoc Quan was sentenced on Wednesday to two and half years in prison, and Mr Coville said that his conviction for tax evasion echoed the one in 2008 of Nguyen Van Hai, a prominent blogger and media freedom campaigner best known by his penname Dieu Clay.

“This raises concerns that such charges may be used to silence human rights activists and those who are critical of the government’s policies and practices,” said Mr Colville.