William & Mary Media Contact: Suzanne Suerattan, Office of University Relations, [[w|scseur]] or (757)221-1631.
William & Mary Law School Professor Linda Malone will serve as a pro bono counsel for Nguyen Quoc Quan, an American citizen and democracy activist who has been detained in Vietnam since April 17, 2012. Quan is a member of Viet Tan (the Vietnam Reform Party). State-controlled media from inside the country has reported that the activist has been charged with “attempting to overthrow the people’s government.”
In a Dec. 11 Associated Press story, Malone expressed concern about the possible long-term effects on Vietnam "if they come down on [a] U.S. citizen with an extreme sentence for peacefully advocating human rights." The AP story has been carried by ABC News, Bloomberg Businessweek, the Boston Globe, the Huffington Post, the Gainsville (Fla.) Sun, the Idaho Stateman, The Kansas City Star, The Modesto (Calif.) Bee, National Public Radio, the News and Observer, The News Tribune, the San Jose Mercury News, Stars and Stripes, Times Online, the Washington Examiner, and many other outlets.
Malone is the founding director of the Human Security Law Center at William & Mary Law School. She will serve as a legal advisor to Quan’s Vietnamese defense lawyers and said she is contacting Vietnamese authorities as well as staff in the U.S. State Department to argue for his immediate release.
“Dr. Quan has been arbitrarily imprisoned for seven months without a court hearing of any kind,” said Malone. “As a U.S. citizen seeking peaceful democratic reform in his original homeland, and under the most fundamental requirements of human rights law, he is entitled to immediate access to a fair and full process to evaluate the legitimacy of his continuing detention.”
Since his detention last spring, Quan has had limited access to legal representation, she noted. Quan began a hunger strike on Nov. 19, which, Malone said, underlines the urgency of his legal plight.
Malone also said that she wants to help Quan’s wife and children in California, who have not been allowed to speak or correspond with him directly since he was taken into custody.
Malone is the Marshall-Wythe Foundation Professor of Law at William & Mary Law School. She serves on the board of directors for the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law and has published numerous articles and books on international law, human rights, and environmental law. She previously served as co-counsel to Bosnia-Herzegovina in its genocide case against Serbia and Montenegro before the World Court, co-counsel to Paraguay in its challenge to the death penalty in Paraguay v. Virginia, and co-counsel for amicus in the Supreme Court in Padilla v. Rumsfeld and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.