US Lawmakers Call on Vietnam to Release Detained American Citizen
Home | News | VietnamUS Lawmakers Call on Vietnam to Release Detained American Citizen 2018-08-10
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Congressional representatives from California called on Vietnam this week to free a U.S. citizen detained for more than a month, at the same time urging U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to exert diplomatic pressure to help the father of four return home.
In a statement released on Thursday, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Representatives Mimi Walters, J. Luis Correa, and Alan Lowenthal urged Pompeo to do what he can to ensure that Michael Nguyen, a resident of Californiaâs Orange County, âreturn safely to his family without delay.â
âWe stand ready to assist you in this effort and appreciate your attention to this matter,â the U.S. lawmakers wrote.
Nguyen, a 54-year-old father of four from California, disappeared on July 6 while visiting friends and relatives in Vietnam, and his whereabouts and condition were unknown for mor e than three weeks.
On July 31, the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City Franc Shelton confirmed that Nguyen had been arrested and was being held at a detention center in the city while under investigation for âactivity against the Peopleâs government,â according to Article 109 of Vietnamâs Penal Code.
âWe believe, in fact, that Mr. Nguyen was unfairly caught up in a Vietnamese government crackdown on domestic dissidents,â the California members wrote in their Aug. 9 statement. âAlarmingly, it is possible that Michael could be detained for multiple months with no formal charges made against him.â
Though U.S.-Vietnam relations have improved in recent years, âVietnamâs human rights record remains deeply troubling,â they said, calling Nguyenâs case an âegregious example of Vietnamâs troubling history of arbitrary arrest.â
âMany fear for his safety,â they said.
Vietnam has seen large-scale protests against proposed government p olicy in recent months during which another U.S. citizen, William Nguyen, was beaten by police and detained along with other protesters on June 10 in Ho Chi Minh City, also called Saigon.
Following a half-day trial on July 20, the 32-year-old graduate student was found guilty of âdisturbing public orderâ and was expelled from Vietnam, weeks after Secretary of State Pompeo traveled to the one-party communist country and urged government officials to quickly resolve the case.
Reported by RFAâs Vietnamese Service. Written in English by Richard Finney.