Disabled man drags himself up the stairs at district court: report

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A 63-year-old man on a wheelchair had to drag himself upstairs at a court in Ho Chi Minh City's District 4 to file a lawsuit that had been rejected twice.

An Van Chau was asked to submit his documents on the first floor and was not assisted by any official in the court on December 10, the Tuoi Tre Newspaper reported.

It reported that Chau lost one of his legs and the other was paralyzed. He has been using a wheelchair for more than 30 years.

"I'm also a human being and I don't want to crawl and drag myself miserably like this," he said. "But because they (the officials) refused to walk down to meet me, I had to drag myself up."

He said it was the third time he'd come to the district court trying to file a lawsuit involving a will.

He had failed to do so the first two times because he was either asked to submit additional documents or asked to come back later, he said.

Chau was not lucky the third time as well.

His lawsuit was once again rejected by court officials, who finally concluded that the case was not under district court's jurisdiction as it involved his brother, who now lives in Canada, Tuoi Tre reported.

"Why didn't they just tell me this in the first place? I'm very disappointed with their attitude," he said.

The newspaper cited two lawyers as saying Vietnamese laws require that disabled people are assisted by state officials during administrative and legal procedures.

But in a follow-up report, Bui Hoang Danh, head judge of the city People's Court, said the officials in District 4 did not do anything wrong to Chau.

They'd asked him to wait downstairs, but he wanted to take the stairs himself, Danh said.

The incident caught public attention and the district court was heavily criticized by many readers.

They pointed out that local authorities need to make office buildings accessible to those with disabilities. 

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