He was arrested by the Vietnamese authorities and charged under Article 88 for “conducting propaganda against the state”. The arrest was condemned by international human rights organisations and elected representatives across the world. In 2006, Dai founded the Committee for Human Rights in Vietnam, dedicating his life to civil empowerment through legal means with programs aimed at expanding legal networkings, building capacity for future human rights defenders and increasing legal education by disseminating and authoring publications on civil and legal rights.
Through his work with the Committee for Human Rights, Dai has travelled across Vietnam to teach law students and train young human rights defenders on human rights reporting mechanisms and how to deal with police interrogation.
In May 2013, Dai also founded the “Brotherhood for Democracy”, a group of mostly former jailed dissidents to co-ordinate mobilising efforts throughout Vietnam. In December 2015, the Brotherhood for Democracy organised a series of human rights forums in Hanoi and Saigon to mark International Human Rights Day.
Police prevented Dai from leaving his house to attend and speak at the forum in Hanoi. Dai was beaten with wooden clubs, had his possessions taken and left stranded on a beach following training and facilitating a human rights forum in Nghe An Province the week before his arrest.
Dai was previously tried in May 2008 and sentenced to five years in prison (later reduced to four years) for “conducting propaganda against the state” (Article 88) and was forced to close his offices.
He was released to four years of house arrest on March 9, 2011 and barred from practicing law. Dai concluded his house arrest in March 2015 but experienced regular police harassment, physical attacks and surveillance. Nguyen Van Dai was taken into custody in the morning of December 16, 2015.
Dai was taken back to his house by plainclothes police officers and was confronted by more than two dozen police officers in plainclothes and uniform.
They also stated the charges which Dai did not agree to Police confiscated several of his possessions including two laptops, a desktop computer and several USB sticks.
Since his arrest, Dai has been held in incommunicado. In December attorney Ha Huy Son submitted the paperwork to be Dai"s defense lawyer but was declined by the Ministry of Public Security.
Currently, Dai has not been given legal representation.
She is currently being held incommunicado.