Lê Công Định
|Lê Công Định|
|Criminal charge||attempts to overthrow the state|
|Criminal penalty||five-year sentence|
|Criminal status||began serving 20 January 2010|
Lê Công Định is a prominent Vietnamese lawyer who sat on the defence of many high profile human rights cases in Vietnam. He was critical of bauxite mining in the central highlands of Vietnam., and was arrested by the Vietnamese government on June 13, 2009 on charges of "national security", though the arrest was met by the international community with strong objections. Le Cong Dinh is one of Amnesty International's prisoners of conscience.
Life before arrest
In 2003, Dinh worked for a local law firm called YKVN, which is contracted to provide local assisting services for White & Case LLP, as US-based lawfirm that was appointed to represent VASEP (Vietnam Association of Seafoods Export Processors) an industrial association that successfully represented Vietnamese catfish farmers in a trade dispute in the US Department of Commerce.
Just prior to his arrest, Dinh was a defense lawyer for high-profile democracy and religious freedom activists, and was known for publicly supporting famous Vietnamese political dissidents including Nguyen Van Dai, Le Thi Cong Nhan, and Nguyen Hoang Hai (known as Dieu Cay.)
Arrest and charges
On June 13, 2009 police from the Ministry of Public Security's Investigation Security Agency raided Le Cong Dinh's law offices. He was arrested on "national security charges" under article 88 of Vietnam's criminal code ("conducting propaganda against the government"). Since his arrest, his current location and condition is unknown.
Deputy Director General Department of Security Vu Hai Trieu announced that lot of documents and conspiracy evidences had confiscated which indicate the attempt to overthrow the state of Vietnam by lawyer Dinh.
Ironically the arrest came a week after President Nguyen Minh Triet vowed in front of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers in Hanoi that the government respects and supports progressive lawyers and that it will criticize those who "trample democracy and human rights."
On January 20, 2010, he was convicted and sentenced to 5 years in prison for subversion. His co-defendants, Nguyễn Tiến Trung, Trần Huỳnh Duy Thức and Lê Thăng Long received sentences from 7 to 16 years.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) describes Dinh as a “peaceful human rights defender” and released a statement that "The arrest of Le Cong Dinh demonstrates a disturbing but familiar pattern. Peaceful advocates for religious freedom and related human rights are intimidated, harassed, and jailed. Le Cong Dinh’s arrest demonstrates that no human rights, including the freedom of religion, are secure in Vietnam.”
A statement on the United States Department of State website reads "Vietnam's arrest of Mr. Dinh contradicts the government's own commitment to internationally-accepted standards of human rights and to the rule of law. We urge the Government of Vietnam to release Mr. Dinh immediately and unconditionally, as well as all other prisoners in detention for peacefully expressing their views."
Referencing President Nguyen Minh Triet's address the week prior, The Human Rights Watch's Asia director called "this arrest makes a mockery of the president's lofty words. It tells other lawyers and human rights defenders just what they can expect if they dare to speak out." 
The International Bar Association's (IBA's) Human Rights Institute calls the arrest "arbitrary" and expressed concern in a letter to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung "that the arrest could be linked to the fact that Mr Le Cong Dinh has expressed critical views on the Vietnamese government".
On 17 June 2009, Amnesty International, who granted Le Cong Dinh with the status of prisoner of conscience, issued a statement calling the authorities to release him immediately and to "either repeal or amend provisions in the 1999 Penal Code which criminalize peaceful political dissent".
- "Prominent lawyer jailed in Vietnam". Retrieved 2009-06-20.
- "U.S. Group Condemns Arrest of Rights Lawyer in Vietnam". Retrieved 2009-06-20.
- "Vietnam lawyer's arrest worries US". Retrieved 2009-06-20.
- "Urgent Action : Le Cong Dinh, human rights lawyer: arrested". Retrieved 2009-06-21.
- "Vietnam: Free Prominent Rights Lawyer Le Cong Dinh". Retrieved 2009-06-20.
- Mydans, Seth (2009-12-24). "Vietnam Charges Lawyer With Capital Crime". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
- "Vietnam lawyer charged with subversion". BBC News. December 24, 2009.
- Mydans, Seth (January 20, 2010). "Vietnam Jails 4 Activists for Subversion". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
- "Vietnam: Arrest of Lawyer Le Cong Dinh". Retrieved 2009-06-20.
- "Global lawyers' group brands Vietnam arrest 'arbitrary'". Retrieved 2009-06-20.
- "On the Repressive Measures Against Attorney Le Cong Dinh". Retrieved 2009-06-20.
- "Call for release of lawyer who defended bloggers and free expression activists". Retrieved 2009-06-21.
- "Call for the release of Vietnamese lawyer/writer Le Cong Dinh". Retrieved 2009-06-21.