Le Cao Dong

Current Status: Likely released - at risk

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Other Names: Lê Cao Đông

Date of Birth: 1959

Gender: M

Areas of Activism:

  • Land rights

Highlighted Human Rights Concerns:

  • Former Political Prisoner

Details - Background, History of Activism.

Le Cao Dong was born in 1959 in Thanh Hoa province.

Le Cao Dong was arrested simply because of his speech at a local cell meeting of the Communist Party on April 2, 2019. The meeting was organized by Trung Kỳ Quarter with the participation of Mai Van Liem, the Secretary of Communist Party of Sam Son City and discussed the mega development Sea Square project. 

In the meeting, Le Cao Dong only said that while a majority of the public supports the construction of the “Sea Square,” the Party and administrative officials should pay attention to and have a consultation with local residents. The land area intended for the construction is, after all, home to 600 households of fishermen and fish sauce makers who have been living there for generations. Without working out resettlement measures, it would be unreasonable to ask the residents to support the construction plan. Similarly, Le Van Tuan also asked to speak at the meeting and was permitted to so before he took the microphone. Yet, solely for that legitimate expression of concerns about how the resettlement and compensation planning was conducted, Le Van Tuan (who also spoke out at the local meeting) was put under temporary detention on July 24, 2019, and Le Cao Dong was placed under house arrest prior to trial. 

The Sea Square Development Project is a comprehensive plan to construct a complex in Sam Son city comprised of a residential area, parks, and several tourist attractions. Sungroup, one of the largest real estate investors in the country, is behind the project. While indeed, first and foremost, it is meant to serve the interests of the investor, Sea Square has also been dubbed as the key project for the socio-economic development of Thanh Hoa Province, and it seems to have received strong endorsement from Thanh Hoa Province authorities. But, official media outlets of the provincial authorities, including TTV – Thanh Hoa Radio and Television, and the official website of Sam Son city, complain that they still need the local population’s “participation” and “responsibility” in complying with the planning. 

Read more about the development project and local reactions, here.

Arrested July, 2019. Sentenced to 9 months in prison under Art. 318 (2015 Code). Expected Release is April, 2020.

July, 2019
  • Art. 318 (2015 Code)
Sam Son City (map)
November 27, 2019
The Court of Sam Son city
9 months in prison
April, 2020
  • freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
  • liberty and security of the person
  • freedom of expression
  • fair trial
  • political participation

While his exact arrest date is unknown, Dong was arrested prior to trial, potentially in July of 2019. On November 27, 2019, in a trial at the People’s Court of Sam Son city, chaired by Judge Nguyen Van Nghi, Le Cao Dong (60 years old) and Le Van Tuan (34 years old) were sentenced to nine months and seven months of imprisonment, respectively, under Art. 318 of the 2015 Criminal Code for “disturbing public order.”

Profile last updated: 2020-08-07 18:57:05

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