A U.S. government commission has condemned the arrest of a prominent Vietnamese religious freedom lawyer who has served on the defense of many high profile human rights cases.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent, bipartisan federal body, describes arrested lawyer Le Cong Dinh as a “peaceful human rights defender” and says he is among a growing number of rights activists who are challenging laws that are inconsistent with the Vietnamese constitution and human rights treaties that the government has signed.
“The arrest of Le Cong Dinh demonstrates a disturbing but familiar pattern,” said Michael Cromartie, USCIRF vice chair, who recently led a USCIRF delegation to Vietnam. “Peaceful advocates for religious freedom and related human rights are intimidated, harassed, and jailed. Le Cong Dinh’s arrest demonstrates that no human rights, including the freedom of religion, are secure in Vietnam.”
Le was arrested by the Vietnamese government last Saturday for allegedly “conducting propaganda” against the state. The government accused Le of having “drafted tens of thousands of documents published on overseas radio, newspaper and websites” containing hostile content against the communist regime, according to Agence France-Presse.