Tension mounts ahead of Vietnam lawyer trial

By James Barnes

21 June 2013 at 11:26 BST

Legal professionals in Vietnam have reacted angrily after the team representing a prominent dissident lawyer detained on tax evasion charges was refused access to court documents ahead of a trial.

Le Quoc Quyet told Radio Free Asia that lawyers representing his older brother Le Quoc Quan had experienced frequent standoffs with the authorities over the documents since his case was transferred to the Hanoi People’s Court in April.
Mr Quyet said that his brother’s lawyers had only been made aware of the 9 July trial date last week, adding: ‘The lawyers have faced constant obstruction when trying to access case documents.’
Mr Quan, 41, was arrested in December. Human rights group believe the move to detain him is part of a political vendetta waged by Vietnamese authorities, reports RFA.
Human Rights Watch said the tax evasion charges – which are frequently used by the communist state to silence critics - came ‘out of nowhere’.
Several rights groups have appealed to US Secretary of State John Kerry to pressure Hanoi for his release.

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