Blogger and human rights lawyer Le Quoc Quan has been detained since December 2012 and is currently on hunger strike. Ahead of his appeal hearing next week, he has written to supporters across the globe, thanking them for their ongoing support
My dear compatriots at home and abroad,
While confined to these dark prison cells, I am deeply moved to know that many of you still care, follow and support my case. Seeing all the friends and fellow parishioners at my trial on Oct. 2, 2013, warms my heart immensely and it further gives me confidence in the path I have chosen. The 30-month sentence given to me is unjust and illegal. I have lodged an appeal to the Supreme court and accused the judge of violating Article 295 of the Penal code, because he has rendered a verdict that is contrary to the laws. Every single day that I am being imprisoned, is a day of further hardship for my family and I; but most important of all, it is another day that justice in Vietnam is being trampled on.
I conduct my struggle with measure, in an ethical manner, and to the best of my knowledge at all times, in all places, and I am pleased to see progress, however modest.
I hope that there will be positive developments in my upcoming appeals trial and I hope to continue to receive your support. The support from outside will have a decisive role in determining the victory of freedom and justice inside the courtroom.
In prison, I am at peace and always believe in the bright future of our nation. I think of you all constantly and pray daily for your peace and progress. I sincerely apologise to those whom I have caused sadness or suffering by my actions, ideals and words and I readily forgive those who have wronged and caused grief to me and my family, irrespective of their political belief. Right now, I am filled with faith in the human nature of goodness, charity and compassion, as well as our continous struggle against evil and oppression by awakening our conscience and changing from within.
Goodness will grow, evil will retract. Democracy will spread and dictatorship will regress. The heroic people of Vietnam deserve a happy and prosperous life. They shall know what to do and hold the country’s destiny in their own hands. No individual or any political party can take that away from them.
Long live Vietnam!
Lawyer Le Quoc Quan
Thinking of Mother this Spring
Mother, this Spring I cannot
Ring in the new year with my wife and children
Inside the four walls, cold at night
My heart breaking with the pain of homesickness
Another spring, my head turns more silver
Angry that I have not fulfilled my filial duty
Mother don’t be sad; I am crying
For our country’s spring
Le Quoc Quan
Help spread the word
Please share Le Quoc Quan’s letter and poem with your friends and colleagues. If you are active on social media please sign up to our Thunderclap for Le Quoc Quan, and use the hashtag #LeQuocQuan when writing about the case on Twitter or Facebook.
Write to the authorities
Please send an appeal to the Vietnamese authorities calling for Le Quoc Quan’s immediate and unconditional release. A sample letter is provided below but it is always better if you put the appeal in your own words.
Embassy of Vietnam
12-14 Victoria Road
I am writing to you as a supporter of English PEN, the founding centre of the international association of writers, to call for the immediate release of blogger and human rights lawyer Le Quoc Quan.
Jailed Vietnamese blogger and human rights lawyer Le Quoc Quan has launched a hunger strike to protest the refusal by prison authorities to provide him access to legal counsel, access to legal and religious books, and access to a priest for spiritual guidance, ahead of his appeal trial on 18 February 2014 in Hanoi. Le Quoc Quan has been imprisoned since 27 December 2012.
In 2013, the detention of Le Quoc Quan was condemned by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention as a violation of his right to freedom of expression and his right to a fair trial. It found that Le Quoc Quan had been targeted for his work as a lawyer and blogger and called for his immediate release or for his conviction to be reviewed by an independent court. It also recommended that Viet Nam pay damages to Le Quoc Quan for his arbitrary detention. The government of Viet Nam has yet to respond to this decision.
I firmly believe that the conviction and ongoing detention of Le Quoc Quan are arbitrary and violate his rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association, a fair trial and his rights as a human rights defender, and call for his immediate and unconditional release.
I would welcome your comments on my appeal.