Vietnam: Lead human-rights attorney in Vietnam gets his own day in court, while U.S. diplomats deliberate on the finer points of defining religious persecution
As Vietnamese lawyers go, Nguyen Van Dai is unusual. He is perhaps one of 10 religious freedom fighters—and he is the oldest. He has defended persecuted Christians in Vietnamese courts for years. Now he is the one who needs defending.
Motivated by his faith, Nguyen last year began advocating for political—not just religious—freedoms, for multiparty democracy in a one-party state. In early March, police arrested Nguyen along with 28-year-old fellow activist and lawyer Le Thi Cong Nhan for "propagandizing" against the Vietnamese republic.
Not even Nguyen's wife has seen him since. She was not allowed to deliver a Bible to him. In the absence of outside contact the grinding of justice is nonetheless real. Vietnamese authorities scheduled a trial for this month under Vietnam's criminal code. Their sentences could run as long as 20 years. the rest