Vietnam’s Communist authorities have released two prominent democracy advocates arrested more than a week ago during the trial of a fellow dissident, Radio Free Asia reports.
Lawyer Le Quoc Quan (left) and medical doctor Pham Hong Son were released today, Quan’s sister told RFA.
The two activists were detained outside a Hanoi court as prominent legal advocate, Cu Huy Ha Vu was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment.
Vu’s case is “sadly yet another example of the on-going repression of fundamental rights” in Vietnam, according to an open letter to the government from the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint initiative of the International Federation for Human Rights, the World Organisation against Torture, and the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights.
Quan, a well-known lawyer and human rights defender, was jailed for three months in 2007 for allegedly subversive activities, shortly after returning from a five-month Reagan-Fascell fellowship at the National Endowment for Democracy, the Washington-based democracy assistance group.
The latest detentions and arrests mirror the crackdown in China, a leading dissident said today, confirming the regime’s fear of the pro-democracy upsurge in the Arab world. “
“Whoever mentions democracy is immediately arrested because the government is afraid,” said Buddhist leader Thich Quang Do. “They are afraid of ongoing movements in the Middle East and North Africa.”
“People in those countries learned from one another. They encourage each other and emulated one another to stand up demanding for democracy,” he told RFA.
“One day it will be Vietnam’s turn. The people have suffered, but they can only suffer to a certain level. They can not suffer forever. There comes the day when people can not suffer any longer, they will venture to stand up. That day will come,” he predicted.