Diplomats, human rights groups and politicians in the United States and Australia have demanded the release of the prominent human rights lawyer, Nguyen Van Dai, who founded the Committee for Human Rights in Vietnam in 2006, and who was arrested in March 2007. Released in March of 2011, 4 years later, he continued to champion human rights in Vietnam. In December 2015 he was beaten by masked men after teaching a class on human rights and was subsequently arrested a few days later. According to Vietnam Right Now “the head of the EU mission in Hanoi, Bruno Angelet, said that the arrest was a particular shock as it coincided with the EU’s annual human rights dialogue with Vietnam.” Recently, his wife, Vu Minh Khan, who was denied contact with her husband and has no idea where he is being kept, visited the US to rally support for her husband’s release. NAM’s reporter, Nguyen Khoa Thai-Anh spoke with her on her recent visit to the Bay Area.
NAM: Can you tell us a little bit about why your husband, attorney Nguyen van Dai, got arrested by Vietnam?
Thank you, I’m truly indebted to the Vietnamese and mainstream community here in America. Everybody has been kind and supportive of my husband’s cause always ready to lend me a helping hand. Vietnam arrested my husband on the catchall article 88 of Vietnam Penal Code,* claiming that he’s propagating, sowing dissension among the people against the regime. My husband has always been a conscientious person, he became keenly aware of the unjust situation in society after coming back from Germany, so after graduating from Law School in 1995, my husband devoted his life to helping others, he has plunged headlong into many altruistic activities, teaching people about human rights and freedom of religion. He defended Pastor Nguyen Hong Quang and religious freedom activist Pham Ngoc Thach in 2004.
NAM: To date have you had any news regarding your husband health and conditions in prison?
Dai has been imprisoned more than 4 months now and neither I nor his lawyer has any news of his whereabouts or conditions. You know that he has been beaten savagely before his arrest, and the wounds have had no time to heal and I worry about that and the sanitary conditions in the prison, especially the food source since his Hepatitis B has barely been stabilized.
NAM: So far how do you feel about your goals in this visit to the U.S., specifically with regards to your campaign in getting your husband’s, attorney Nguyen van Dai, release?
Since arriving here on April 14, 2016, I generally feel encouraged by such an outpouring of love and support from the overseas communities. My efforts are mainly about raising awareness on my husband human rights activities, which unjustly have him imprisoned. I’d like to seek help for his release.
NAM: The deeds of…