Viet Nam: Politically-motivated case against environmental activist must be dropped

Ahead of tomorrow’s trial in Nghe An province of environmental rights activist, Le Dinh Luong, accused of taking part in activities aimed at “overthrowing the state”, Clare Algar, Amnesty International’s Director of Global Operations, said:

“For peacefully campaigning on behalf of fishermen affected by an environmental disaster, Le Dinh Luong could face a life sentence or even the death penalty. This is a patently unjust and politically-motivated case that should be dropped and Le Dinh Luong must be released immediately and unconditionally.

This is a patently unjust and politically-motivated case that should be dropped
Clare Algar, Amnesty International’s Director of Global Operations

“There are also serious concerns over whether Le Dinh Luong can expect a fair trial. Having spent more than a year in police custody, he has only had access to a defence lawyer for little more than a month.”

Background

Le Dinh Luong, 52, is a veteran and an activist who campaigned for compensation for affected fishermen in the wake of the Formosa environmental disaster in 2016, which saw toxic waste dumped in Viet Nam’s waterways by Taiwanese company, Formosa. The incident sparked a huge social movement in Viet Nam, leading to a crackdown bv authorities that resulted in around 40 arrests and forced dozens of people to flee the country.

Le Dinh Luong was arrested for "activities attempting to overthrow the state" on 24 July 2017, under Article 79 of the 1999 Criminal Code. Denied any access to his family, he was held in incommunicado detention for almost a year, and was only granted access to a defence lawyer in early July 2018.

In addition to his environmental activism, Le Dinh Luong has also campaigned on behalf of Viet Nam’s political prisoners and against laws limiting freedom of expression.