Detention of Vietnamese Human Rights Lawyer Nguyen Van Dai Extended

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Vietnam has extended the detention of the human rights lawyer, Nguyen Van Dai, whose arrest last year signalled the beginning of a wave of repression against government critics.

Mr Dai and his assistant, Le Thu Ha, have been held in isolation since December, denied access even to family members and lawyers.

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The authorities added another four months to their detention without giving any suggestion of when they would be brought to court.

The office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said it was concerned about the treatment of the two activists and called for their immediate release.

“Authorities have refused to provide information about their whereabouts and health conditions,” said the Commissioner’s Southeast Asia office in a post on its Facebook page.

It expressed fears that “prolonged incommunicado detention may facilitate the perpetration of torture and can in itself constitute a form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or even torture.”

Mr Dai was arrested as he prepared to meet members of a European Union delegation, who were in Vietnam for a human rights dialogue with the government. The arrest was seen as a show of disdain by the Vietnamese authorities for foreign pressure over political freedoms.

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