Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Arrests of U.S. citizens in Viet Nam confirmed by U.S. officials

American officials confirmed reports that Viet Nam has detained four U.S. citizens, Agence France-Presse reported Tuesday.

The statements were made after the officials gained their first consular access to two of the detainees.

Police arrested six pro-democracy activists in Ho Chi Minh City on November 17, two of whom were U.S. citizens. The activists are members of the California-based Viet Tan party, which the Vietnamese government considers a terrorist organization.

Two more Vietnamese-Americans were arrested on November 23 at the city’s airport, according to reports by state-controlled media that labeled the detainees “terrorists.” They were reportedly found carrying a handgun and bullets. Viet Tan has denied any link with these individuals.

Viet Tan has charged that Viet Nam, having arrested peaceful activists, “had to fabricate a link with two individuals who allegedly smuggled a firearm into Vietnam in order to paint Viet Tan as a terrorist organization.”

Speaking about the arrests during a visit to Hanoi Tuesday, U.S. senior diplomat Stephen Mull said: “We do hope that people are not charged with terrorism just for expressing their opinions peacefully.”

For the full story, click here.

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