Hanoi, 30/11/2017 - Today, the Da Nang Upper Court rejected the appeal of Ms. Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh against the sentence to 10 years in prison, imposed in June by a tribunal in Khanh Hoa Province. This conviction comes after she had peacefully expressed her opinion on environmental and social issues. This sentence directly contradicts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Vietnam is a party, in which the freedoms of opinion and expression are enshrined as fundamental rights of every human being, indispensable for individual dignity and fulfilment, as well as Article 25 of the Vietnamese Constitution. The fact that authorities in the central coastal province of Phu Yen revoked a lawyer practice license of Vo An Don, one of lawyers hired by Quynh’s family to defend for her at the hearing, and that her other lawyers were only allowed to meet her a few times to prepare for her defence calls into question the due process to which every Vietnamese is entitled under the law. The family of Ms. Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh should have been allowed to witness the trial inside the courtroom but was not.
The decision by the Vietnamese authorities not to allow representatives of the EU Delegation and those of the EU Member States' embassies to observe the trial raises questions as to the transparency of the process. The European Union expects Ms Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh to be immediately and unconditionally released
The European Union will continue to monitor the Human Rights Situation in Vietnam, and work with the authorities towards the improvement of the human rights situation in the country. A delegation of the European Union is in Hanoi for the annual EU-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue, which takes place tomorrow, and will raise this case among others.