Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, December 14, 2007

U.S. citizens released from Viet Nam

Three U.S. citizens have been released from Viet Nam, including a couple accused of carrying a handgun and bullets at the Ho Chi Minh City airport, and a pro-democracy activist, Agence France-Presse reported Wednesday.

Le Van Phan and his wife Nguyen Thi Thinh, a Vietnamese-American couple, were called “terrorists” by state media after their arrest on November 23. Leon Truong, a member of the California-based Viet Tan party, was arrested on November 17 with five other activists, including another Vietnamese-American, a French woman, a Thai citizen and two Vietnamese nationals.

The other Vietnamese-American arrested, Nguyen Quoc Quan, “is still in custody and we haven’t received a formal notification of charges brought against him,” Steve Royster, spokesman for the State Department’s consular affairs division, said.

Loretta Sanchez, Democratic legislator from California, said “it is appalling to me these arrests ever happened,” and called for the immediate release of Nguyen.

“When will the harassment, the arrest of the U.S. citizens, and the harassment and jailing of the Vietnamese people end,” she asked at a news conference on Capitol Hill, accusing Hanoi of human rights abuses against its own citizens.

Viet Nam has stated that it only prosecutes people who break the law, and not political activists, although provisions ban anti-state propaganda.

For the full story, click here.

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