Vietnam confirms arrests of 3 foreign citizens for violation of law

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) – Three foreigners have been arrested in Vietnam for violating national laws, an official said Thursday, in an apparent crackdown on pro-democracy activists in the country. U.S. citizen Truong Leon, French citizen Nguyen Thi Thanh Van and Thai national Somsak Khumi were arrested at the weekend, Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Dung told reporters at a regular press briefing. Dung did not say what laws the three broke, saying police were still investigating. On Tuesday, a U.S.-based pro-democracy group said Vietnamese security police had detained six pro-democracy activists, including two U.S. citizens, a French citizen and a Thai national. Police arrested the activists while they were meeting in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday, according to Viet Tan, or Vietnam Reform, a California-based group that claims to have members around the world and underground in Vietnam. The group said the two Americans and the French citizen were members of Viet Tan. The other three detainees were a Thai and two Vietnamese. The detainees were discussing with other activists how to promote peaceful democratic change before security police arrested them at a private residence in Ho Chi Minh City, according to Viet Tan. Separately, two Vietnamese lawyers jailed for advocating a multiparty state in Vietnam were scheduled to appear before a court in Hanoi next Tuesday to appeal their sentences, Dung said. After a trial last May, Nguyen Van Dai was sentenced to five years in jail and Le Thi Cong Nhan to four years. They were also ordered to serve four years and three years of probation respectively after their release. Vietnam’s ruling communist party does not tolerate challenges to its rule.


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