The 88 Project, June 8, 2017: Eight months after blogger and human rights defender Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh was arrested, the investigation period seems to have concluded and a trial should take place soon. Yesterday, lawyer Nguyễn Khả Thành’s office received a hand-written letter by Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh, dated June 2, 2017, in which Quỳnh requested him to be her defense counsel. The letter reads: “The prosecution period of my case has concluded. The Public Procuracy agency has served the indictment. I am writing this letter to Lawyer Nguyễn Khả Thành’s office to respectfully request a defense counsel. I suggest the following lawyers: Lawyer Nguyễn Khả Thành. Please contact The People’s Court of Khánh Hòa province. I sincerely thank you.”
Lawyer Nguyễn Khả Thành’s office will send a letter to request a defense counsel’s certificate to represent Quỳnh. It remains to be seen whether the authorities of Khánh Hòa province will facilitate the process. According to Art. 56(4) of the 2003 Vietnamese Criminal Procedure Code: “Within three days counting from the date of receiving the requests of the defense counsels enclosed with papers related to the defense, the investigating bodies, procuracies or courts must consider and grant them the defense counsel’s certificates so that they can perform the defense.”
Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh, aka Mẹ Nấm (Mother Mushroom), is a prominent blogger and human rights defender. She was arrested on October 10, 2016 under Art. 88 (“propaganda against the socialist state”). She has not been allowed to see either a lawyer or her family since then.
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