Before Its Too Late
Hoang Minh Chinh
In the trial on 11/8/2002, the accused dissident lawyer Le Chi Quang looked extremely frail; his face was swollen all over. Quang has had kidney inflammation for more than 12 years, but since the day he was arrested and placed in B14 jailhouse in Ha Dong on 2/21/2002, he has not gotten any medication from the prison guards. The above eye-witness report from a couple of rare witnesses present on the day of trial compels us to understand that the life of this prisoner of conscience is in great danger, with 4 years in prison and 3 years of house arrest after that. He is being punished precisely for his patriotism and his exercise of human and citizen rights, according to the Vietnam Constitution of 1992.
This terrible news immediately reached the press and Internet on 11/8/2002 and shocked everyones conscience. Reporters Without Borders (Reporter Sans Frontieøres) immediately denounced this cruel act: "Reporters Without Borders denounced the trial, and 4-years imprisonment of cyber-dissident Le Chi Quang for his criticism of the government on the Internet." Monsieur Robert Ménard, Se cretary General of this journalist organization also sent an urgent letter to Vietnam Minister of Health on the same day, saying : "Even if your government refuse your citizen his basic rights, we call on you to please, at least, release Quang for now, to seek immediate treatment for his illness".
In his letter. Mr. R. Ménard also wrote, " Lawyer Le Chi Quang was only practicing his freedom of speech, as stated in the U.N. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which Vietnam is a member." Mr. R. Ménard emphasizes, " Quangs mother confirmed that Quang had pleaded he is the author of all his writings, but argued against any wrongdoings in them. We will appeal against this unfair decision of the court."
Le Chi Quang has repeatedly stated that he had not done anything illegal and counter argued the Indictment statements of The VKSNDTC (The People s Supreme Judicial Supervision Institute) as ill-founded, and illegal. In the first instance of meeting with law counselor Dam Van Hieu, at B14 , in front of the jailers , Le Chi Quang had resolutely affirmed : " I, Le Chi Quang, am not guilty." ( of anything ). This resolute affirmation was repeated to Quangs parents and Colonel Le Hong Ha a few days before the trial. In the same manner, one day before the trial, a secret police officer who has been involved in the case said, " Quang was so tough, so hard-headed; he never acceded to any wrongdoing, and continuously claimed he knew the laws, and acted accordingly to the laws." Before and after the indictment there have been hundreds of articles condemning it as illegal, anti-Constitution, anti-International laws which the government signed; it is anti-human.
I would like to solicit your kindness to raise immediate concern to the government of VN, and demand the immediate release of Le Chi Quang , whose illness is very serious; his life is in danger.
Please, out of your good heart, voice your concern with us.
Hoang Minh Chinh