Thousands of Catholics in Hanoi held a candlelight vigil at Thai Ha Church on the Sunday evening of September 30 to pray for Lê Quốc Quân, a Catholic lawyer who would be trialled on Wednesday October 2. The church was filled with placards and banners asking the Vietnamese government for an immediately release of the lawyer who has been jailed since December last year

The majority of attendances in the vigils were youth from Hanoi’s universities and colleges, despite threats from their education institutes.

Similar vigils were also held in Saigon and the diocese of Vinh, the hometown of the lawyer who is also a member of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Vietnam.

Lê Quốc Quân is a Vietnamese human rights lawyer, democracy activist and prominent Catholic blogger who has been arrested by the Vietnamese government on charges of tax evasion in December 27, 2012. The arrest has been condemned by many human rights organizations around the world.

During a protest of Hanoi Catholics on January 29, 2008 at Saint Joseph Cathedral to demand for the requisition of Hanoi nunciature, Quân made a heroic act when rescuing a Catholic Hmong woman who was beaten brutally by a group of police and guards when she was attempting to bring some flower to a Marian statue inside the nunciature. Quân himself was beaten savagely when he was peacefully protesting and asking them to stop beating the woman. In order to rescue him and the woman, Catholic protestors broke the gate and occupied the nunciature. They only withdrew after receiving a letter from Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican’s Secretary of State.

Since then, the lawyer has been repeatedly harassed both physically and mentally by the Vietnamese government. Typically, in July 2012, he had been threatened by state media for his activism on behalf of his diocese. Police raided his office and attempted to take him to a police station, but were blocked by Quan's supporters.

On August 19, 2012, Le Quoc Quan was attacked by police near his home in Hanoi. He was on the way home when the attack happened, at around 8pm. He was injured in the head, back and knee and required hospitalization. The attack prompted US-based Human Rights Watch to call for a full investigation.

On December 18, 2012, Le Quoc Quan published a piece on his blog that was critical of the government's cling to power. The article entitled "Constitution or a contract for electricity and water service?" criticized the Vietnam National Assembly for an article that states that the Communist Party should have a de-facto leading role in Vietnam. In the article, which was published by BBC, Mr. Quan writes "I may be put in prison. Nevertheless, my belief in human beings, the importance of the issue and the consciousness of a citizen urged me to write."

Nine days after the publication, on December 27, 2012, when Mr Quan was dropping off his daughter at school, he was arrested by the police. The police searched his office, confiscated documents and told his family that he will be charged under Article 161 of the Criminal Code relating to tax evasion.

Mr. Quan is currently detained incommunicado in Hoa Lo Prison with no access to his lawyer and family. Three days after his detention, he has started a hunger strike in prison, which lasted for at least four days.

Many are afraid that he would face a sentence up to three years in prison and a heavy fine.