Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Thursday, April 05, 2007

U.S. ambassador calls for release of Vietnamese political prisoners

U.S. Ambassador to Viet Nam Michael Marine today urged the Vietnamese government to release political prisoners and to open up its rigid single- party system, according to The International Herald Tribune. In a opinion article written by Marine, and disseminated to news outlets in Viet Nam, the ambassador called for the release of all political prisoners, naming a few including Father Nguyen Van Ly.

Ly, a Catholic priest and prominent dissident, was recently sentenced to eight years in prison for creating a new political party that unified dissident groups both inside and outside the country. Marine said Ly and others were arrested for peacefully expressing their views and need to be released. A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry responded to these charges by saying that there are no political prisoners and Viet Nam only arrests people for breaking the law.

Despite the harsh tone of the article with respect to political rights, Marine also praised the Vietnamese government for opening up to the outside world economically and easing restrictions on religion.

To read this article, click here.


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