Jailed Christian attorney Nguyen Van Dai received an award by the German Association of Judges on April 5 for his efforts to defend human rights in Vietnam. Dai, who has been held incommunicado at a prison in Hanoi, was the first Vietnamese lawyer to win the Human Rights Prize for fighting for a democratic and liberal future in the communist country, said Deutscher Richterbund
(German Association of Judges) the largest professional organization of judges and public prosecutors in Germany. "The path to democracy in Vietnam is still long and needs people like Dai," the organization said. On April 4, Dai's wife, Vu Minh Khanh, was stopped at Noi Bai Airport so she couldn't fly to Germany to receive the award. She was told that she was not able to leave the country until 2019. Vu Quoc Dung, the chairman of the human rights organization "Veto! Human Rights Defenders' Network" based in German, received the award on Dai's behalf. Dai, 47, and his assistant Le Thu Ha were arrested in December 2015 for being accused of conducting "propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam" after he had held a workshop on basic human rights at the house of a former political prisoner in Nghe An Province. If found guilty, he will face 20 years of imprisonment. For earlier human rights activism, Dai was imprisoned for four years. He was released in 2011 but was under house arrest until 2015.