The Law Society of Upper Canada Expresses Grave Concerns about the Arrest and Detention of Human Rights Lawyer Le Quoc Quan
The Law Society of Upper Canada is gravely concerned about the arrest and detention of human rights lawyer Le Quoc Quan in Vietnam.
Reliable reports indicate that on December 27, 2012, Le Quoc Quan, human rights lawyer and blogger, was arrested by the police while dropping off his daughter at school. The police advised the family that he would be charged under Article 161 of the Criminal Code, which relates to tax evasion. If he is convicted, he risks three years in prison and a heavy fine.
Reliable reports indicate that on December 27, 2012, Le Quoc Quan was arrested while dropping his daughter off at school. The police advised the family that he would be charged under Article 161 of the Criminal Code, which relates to tax evasion. If he is convicted, he risks three years in prison and a heavy fine.
Le Quoc Quan writes a popular blog about human rights abuses. The Law Society's understanding is that he has been subject to arbitrary arrests and ongoing surveillance and harassment as a result of his human rights work. According to reports, Le Quoc Quan was disabarred following his return to Vietnam from the United States in 2007.
The Law Society is deeply concerned about situations where lawyers who work for the protection and respect of human rights are themselves targeted for exercising their freedoms and rights under international law. Article 16 of the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers states that 'governments shall ensure that lawyers are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference; are able to travel and to consult with their clients freely; and shall not suffer, or be threatened with, prosecution or administrative, economic or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards and ethics.'
Therefore, the Law Society of Upper Canada calls on the Vietnamese authorities to,
- immediately release Le Quoc Quan and guarantee in all circumstances his physical and psychological integrity;
- put an end to all acts of harassment Le Quoc Quan and other human rights defenders in Vietnam;
- ensure that all lawyers can carry out their peaceful and legitimate activities without fear of physical violence or other human rights violations; and
- ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments.
The Law Society of Upper Canada is the governing body for some 44,700 lawyers and 4,900 paralegals in the Province of Ontario, Canada and the Treasurer is the head of the Law Society. The mandate of the Law Society is to govern the legal profession in the public interest by upholding the independence, integrity and honour of the legal profession for the purpose of advancing the cause of justice and the rule of law.
The Law Society urges the legal community to intervene in support of members of the legal profession in Vietnam in their effort to advance the respect of human rights and to promote the rule of law.