On Tuesday, according to NPR’s Mark Memmott, Iranian Nobel Prize winner Shirin Ebadi told NPR reporter Davar Iran Ardalan that a prominent human rights lawyer had been arrested by security agents posing as clients.
That lawyer, Abdolfattah Soltani, spoke with Davar just yesterday — telling her that the Iranian government should recount all the votes in last Friday’s disputed presidential election, in which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner by a 2-1 margin.
“Once they were inside they immediately confiscated his computer and other documents and they arrested Mr. Soltani,” Ebadi said in today’s interview. “As far as we know, they did not have an arrest warrant.”
On the other side of Asia last weekend, Vietnamese plainclothes security agents entered the offices of the Ho Chi Minh City dispute resolution firm PIAC and arrested US-trained lawyer and former Fulbright scholar Le Cong Dinh. As a lawyer at White & Case in 2003, Dinh defended Vietnamese catfish farmers against US anti-dumping tariffs. Then, in 2007, he served as defense counsel for two Hanoi human rights lawyers, Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thi Cong Nhan, who were ultimately sentenced to several years in prison for spreading information “harmful to the State”. While continuing his corporate and civil work, Dinh also defended the well-known political blogger known as Dieu Cay in 2008, when the blogger was arrested on tax charges.
Dinh was arrested Saturday on charges of “colluding with domestic and foreign reactionaries to sabotage the Vietnamese state.” His wife, the former Miss Vietnam 1998, was present at his arrest. You can read the Vietnamese state press report of the arrest here. Here are photos from his arrest. You can read the US State Department’s call for Dinh’s immediate release here. You can decide whether to join the Southeast Asian Press Association’s efforts on the case here. All the main human-rights organizations (HRW, Amnesty, RSF) have also responded to the case.
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