Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Monday, September 24, 2007

New U.S. ambassador vows to pressure Viet Nam to release political dissidents

U.S. Ambassador to Viet Nam Michael Michalak has said that the United States will continue to put pressure on Viet Nam to release dissidents convicted of spreading anti-state propaganda, Agence-France Presse reported Saturday.

Western governments and human rights organizations have been criticizing Viet Nam recently for the number of arrests it has had for activists speaking out against the government. The propaganda charge is found under article 88 of Viet Nam’s penal code, and Michalak said that: “We would like to talk about ways to change this particular article.”

He added: “We don’t believe people should be put in jail just for expressing their opinion.” He also asserted that he will “continue to encourage the government of Viet Nam to make progress on human rights, including religious freedom, freedom of the press, and freedom of expression.”

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