Hanoi, Catholic lawyer meets with relatives in prison and announces appeal against conviction
For the first time since his arrest in December 2012 , Le Quoc Quan was able to speak " for 30 minutes " with five family members. He "does not agree" with the verdict and announces his intention to appeal. From his prison cell he thanks Catholics, Buddhists and activist organizations that have supported him in recent months.

Hanoi ( AsiaNews / Agencies) - For the first time since his arrest - in December 2012 - the Vietnamese Catholic lawyer and dissident Le Quoc Quan was allowed to meet family members in prison. Convicted in recent days to 30 months in prison, he has told his brother that the judgment is "without any foundation" and announced his intention to "appeal". Authorities at Hoa Lo Prison No. 1 in Hanoi granted a meeting of about 30 minutes between the lawyer and five family members. With the end of the trial and confirmation of the sentence , the Vietnamese authorities have granted Quan's family members " regular visits on a monthly basis ."

Interviewed by Radio Free Asia (RFA) at the end of the meeting, his brother and activist Le Quoc Quyet reports that Quan "is certainly not happy with the verdict" and "does not agree with it". He said "he should have been acquitted" and for this reason a few days ago lodged an appeal.

The meeting took place in the prison - in addition to his brother Quyet - his wife, his mother and two younger sisters were able to talk to the Catholic activist and dissident "for about thirty minutes." From prison , through his relatives , Le Quoc Quan wanted to thank all those who supported him in recent months , from Catholic to Buddhist and international organizations and non- governmental . " Their presence at the trial - said his brother - moved him very much."

For activists and pro human rights associations, the Catholic lawyer's prison sentence is the result of his battle against persecution based on religion and heavy criticism - on his blog - against the monopoly of the Communist Party in Vietnam. During the trial in the courtroom he claimed the allegations were a "political vendetta ", he then added he would continue his fight against corruption in the country.

Among the most important and significant Catholic activists in Vietnam , repeatedly arrested and released after short periods, he was re-arrested by Vietnamese government officials, December 27, 2012 , with false and trumped-up charges of " tax evasion ".  His arrest was strongly condemned by many pro - human rights associations around the world. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison and to pay a hefty fine (56 thousand dollars) on October 2 , at the end of a fast track trial that lasted two hours . International organizations, groups, Catholic activists and representatives of the main religions in Vietnam all came out in defense of the dissident , who had fasted and prayed for a long time ahead of his trial.