Key documents in the case of detained RFA blogger Truong Duy Nhat were seized Tuesday when police raided the office of his lawyer Tran Vu Hai on an unrelated tax matter, a second lawyer told RFA’s Vietnamese Service.
Nhat, a weekly contributor to RFA’s Vietnamese Service, disappeared in Bangkok in late January amid fears he was abducted by Vietnamese agents, and two months later was revealed to be in a Hanoi jail, in what legal experts have called a violation of Vietnam’s criminal procedure laws by the country’s police.
Police in Khanh Hoa Province raided the home and office of Hai, Nhat’s lawyer, with a search warrant on tax evasion charges on Tuesday, seizing a large amount of documents, including those of the detained blogger, lawyer Ngo Anh Tuan wrote on his Facebook page after the raid.
Tuan told RFA by telephone that police failed to follow proper procedures in raiding Hai’s home and office.
"During the search process, at the request of lawyer Tran Vu Hai, it is necessary for other lawyers to be present. His is a legitimate request that was not accepted by the police--an action that is not in accordance with the law," Tuan said.
The German-educated Hai, who is in his late 50s, has defended activists in sensitive cases in Vietnam, including blogger Nhat, other political figures and conflicts over land use.
Jailed in Vietnam from 2013 to 2015 for his writings criticizing Vietnam’s government, Nhat now faces corruption charges for his alleged involvement in a land-fraud case while serving as bureau chief at a newspaper in Danang city in the 1990s.
On March 25, Vietnam’s police ministry told reporters at a news conference that Nhat had been detained because of his involvement in the land corruption case.
Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Channhu Hoang. Written in English by Paul Eckert.