Washington, D.C.: Today, the law firm Woodley & McGillivary, in consultation with Freedom Now, submitted a petition to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of imprisoned Vietnamese labor organizers Doan Huy Chuong, Do Thi Minh Hanh, and Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung. The petition seeks a determination from the body of independent experts that the continued detention of Doan, Do, and Nguyen is arbitrary and a violation of international law.

“By imprisoning Doan, Do, and Nguyen in response to their legitimate activities as union organizers, the Vietnamese government continues to violate their fundamental rights to freedom of association and expression,” said Freedom Now Executive Director Maran Turner. “We call on the government to immediately and unconditionally release them and cease its persecution of independent trade unionists.”

The government arrested Doan, Do, and Nguyen in early 2010 after they worked to organize striking employees of the My Phong shoe factory in Vietnam. After holding them without charge and in solitary confinement for months, authorities charged them with threatening national security 10 days before their trial in October, 2010. At trial, the trio were not represented by legal counsel or allowed to speak in their own defense. Found guilty after a closed trail, Doan and Do were sentenced to seven years in prison and Nguyen to nine years in prison. Throughout their detention, the organizers have been repeatedly beaten and are forced to endure hard labor despite serious health problems.

Freedom Now represents Doan, Do, and Nguyen, along with the law firm Woodley and McGillivary, as international pro bono legal counsel.