Mr Nguyen Van Dai, a prominent lawyer and human rights defender, was arrested in Hanoi on Wednesday 16 December 2015 on charges of "conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam". He was also the victim of a reported assault a few days earlier, after participating in a workshop on human rights.
The arrest took place in the wake of the annual EU-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue in Hanoi, where the EU had raised the case of Mr Nguyen Van Dai, and ahead of a meeting he was due to have with the European Union Delegation in Hanoi.
This episode goes against Vietnam's international human rights obligations, notably the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Vietnam is a party. The Vietnamese Authorities need to conduct a full investigation on the assault perpetrated against Mr Nguyen Van Dai and to release him immediately.
Peaceful advocates of human rights should be allowed to express their opinions freely, without threats or impediments, in line with Vietnam's international obligations.