Friday, January 22, 2010

European Union expresses its deep concern about the outcome of Trung's trial

Statement by the EU Heads of Mission on the trial of Mr Le Cong Dinh, Mr Nguyen Tien Trung, Mr Tran Huynh Duy Thuc and Mr Le Thang Long on 20 January 2010.

The EU Heads of Mission in Hanoi express their deep concern about the proceedings and the outcome of the trial in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday 20 January.

The convictions are not consistent with the fundamental right of all persons to hold opinions and freely and peacefully express them, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Vietnam is a party.

Moreover, the severity of the sentences, notably including 16 years imprisonment followed by 5 years of surveillance for Mr Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, is unprecedented in recent years. The trial and verdicts are a major and regrettable step backwards for Vietnam. The esteem of the international community and longterm economic progress are not sustainable if peaceful expression, particularly the exchange and development of ideas about key issues for the people and the country, is suppressed.

The conduct of the trial is also a cause for concern: the families of the accused were not allowed access to the courtroom itself; the sound system relaying the trial to the observers in a nearby room was deficient; and serious allegations by two of the four accused that they had been subjected to pressure or harassment during the investigation were not addressed by the Court.

The EU Heads of Mission reiterate their firm goodwill and support for Vietnam and their readiness to continue to work in partnership with Vietnam. However, the negative trend exemplified by these and other recent verdicts, should be reversed so that Vietnam’s full potential in all areas, both social and economic, can be realised.

EU Delegation in Hanoi, 21 January 2010.

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