Thursday, October 24, 2013

Declaration by the Network of Vietnamese Bloggers on the prosecution and trial of Đinh Nhật Uy

Whereas the People's Procuratorate of Tân An City on September 6, 2013 released the indictment against Đinh Nhật Uy and is going to put Uy on trial on October 29, 2013, the Network of Vietnamese Bloggers asserts and declares the following, on the prosecution as well as the forthcoming trial of Uy:

1. Citizen Đinh Nhật Uy is being charged under a law which, by providing for punishment upon “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State, the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and/or citizens”, has:

- violated Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which stipulates that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. This right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”;

- allowed an arbitrary interpretation which is not based on any legal framework or any specific regulation and can be applied to any civic action;

- created a legal context in which the alleged victim whose interest is “trespassed on”, ie. the State, is acting as the investigator and the prosecutor (the investigating body and the People's Procuratorate), as well as the judge and jury (as the court), while at the same time this same State and the ruling Party have always rejected principles of separation of power and maintained the monopoly of the Communist Party dictating every stage of the legal proceeding process. This means no independent judiciary during the trial process.

Such a prosecution and trial based on a law that violates international obligations and runs counter to basic principles of law cannot legitimately convict any citizen. The Network of Vietnamese Bloggers, before, during and after the trial, holds the opinion that Đinh Nhật Uy is innocent.

2. If the Tan An People's Court and the entire legal system of Vietnam keep convicting Uy, then the Network of Vietnamese Bloggers, based on the principle that all citizens, including both leaders and members of the Party, are equal before the law, according to Article 52 of the Vietnamese Constitution, requests:

- The People's Procuratorate to charge citizen Trương Tấn Sang, who has “abused democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State” by offensively calling Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng as “comrade X” and labelling the ruling Party as “a bunch of insects.”

- The People's Procuratorate to charge citizen Nguyễn Phú Trọng, who has “abused democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State” by defaming the Vietnamese Communist Party, “There are cases of macro corruption; there are also cases of petty corruption which are as annoying as scabies. No matter where you go, you must have money on you,” although to date there has not any organization to be charged and proved guilty of corruption.

- The People's Procuratorate to charge citizen Nguyễn Sinh Hùng, who has “abused democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State” by saying, “Corruption has penetrated into even our anti-corruption forces,” despite the fact that there has not been anyone in the anti-corruption forces convicted of corruption.

- The People's Procuratorate to charge all journalists who have “abused democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State, the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and/or individuals” by committing libel against state owned corporations, convicting Vietnamese citizens even when there has not yet been any verdict by the court, criticizing and smearing the State's leaders.

- The People's Procuratorate to charge all of us, Vietnamese bloggers who have raised opinions and published articles similar to what Đinh Nhật Uy wrote, Vietnamese bloggers who publicly wear advocacy T-shirts, “Paracels-Spratlys-Vietnam”; “No to U-Line! Yes to UNCLOS”, “Abolish 'the ox-tongue line', defend Vietnam's islands and seas”, all of which have been alleged as evidence of Đinh Nhật Uy's wrong-doings.

3. We urge the United Nations Human Rights Council to deem the prosecution and trial of Đinh Nhật Uy as one of the issues that need considering with regard to Vietnam's candidacy for membership in the United Nations Human Rights Council.

October 24, 2013

The Network of Vietnamese Bloggers