Trịnh Kim Tiến - Mrs Nguyễn Tuyết Lan, mother of activist/blogger Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh wrote on her facebook: “My daughter, I have a feeling that at the moment you are suffering from beatings and torture. Be strong, I love you so much. We must cling to God...”
Tuyết Lan has good reason to be fearful, as there are numerous cases of unexplained civilian deaths occurring during police investigations. These mysterious deaths, occurring inside police stations or detention centres, remain unaccounted for.
While it has been over a month since the day Quỳnh was arrested, her family has not received any news about her. Khánh Hòa province police have ignored all rightful requests from her family. They refused Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh the right to contact her lawyer, and they did not reply to the demands of her lawyer as according to the law.
Lan’s representative family lawyer has repeatedly sent appeal letters to Khánh Hòa investigation authorities. They have received no answers from those officers who have deliberately violated the law, by ignoring all legal procedures.
On 9 November 2016, a lawyer from Hưng Đạo firm filed a petition to the Supreme People's Procuratorate of Khánh Hòa Province requesting them to implement their responsibility to prevent Khánh Hòa police authorities from violating legal procedures.
The lack of transparency and improper operations of Khánh Hòa police authorities has raised grave concerns for Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh’s recent safety.
Prior to the day of her arrest, Quỳnh’s health had not been stable. However, together with her fearless personality, her endurance against injustices, and her message to her mother that she would go on hunger strike until she met her lawyer - demonstrate that her mother Lan should indeed worry for her well-being.
Everyone has the right to protection under the law. Everyone is entitled to the legal assistance of a lawyer. This is not only a human rights’ principle, but also the basic right of any citizen. In Quỳnh’s case, Khánh Hòa police authorities have impeded on Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh’s civil rights prior to her trial in court.
At a time where the deaths of civilians in police custody remains a prominent issue, the deliberate tactic of refusing Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh the right to contact her lawyer is obvious attempt to jeopardize her well-being.