WASHINGTON, May 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Communist authorities in Vietnam will bring to trial American citizen Nguyen Quoc Quan, Thai resident Somsak Khunmi and Vietnamese citizen Nguyen The Vu on May 13, 2008.
On November 17, 2007, security police in Saigon arrested members and supporters of Viet Tan as they were preparing to distribute leaflets promoting democracy through non-violent means. On November 19, Viet Tan issued a press release on the arrest of three members — Nguyen Quoc Quan, Leon Truong and Nguyen Thi Thanh Van — and two supporters — Somsak Khunmi and Nguyen The Vu.
A full five days after Viet Tan’s statement, communist authorities publicly acknowledged the arrests. Meanwhile, security police pretended to find a gun in the checked baggage of two Vietnamese American tourists — Le Van Phan and Nguyen Thi Thinh — at the airport in Saigon and announced that this couple was allegedly connected with Viet Tan. In the following days and weeks, official state media accused the Viet Tan democracy activists of being “terrorists.”
The arrests by Vietnamese authorities of individuals engaging in peaceful political expression sparked protests from governments in the United States, France, Australia, Norway and Switzerland along with many international human rights groups including Human Rights Watch, Reporters Sans Frontieres, Committee to Protect Journalists and Rafto Foundation.
Due to international pressure, the Hanoi government was compelled to release Leon Truong and Nguyen Thi Thanh Van in December. The couple who were framed with the gun and had no relation to Viet Tan were also quietly released.
After nearly six months of detention, restrictions against visits by family members and their respective consulates, communist authorities will charge the three Viet Tan democracy activists with “terrorism.”
We affirm that:
- Viet Tan is committed to achieving democratic change through peaceful,non-violent means.
- The legal system in Vietnam is entirely under the control of the Vietnamese Communist Party and all decisions by the court are pre-determined according to political considerations.
- Viet Tan will continue to rally public opinion from inside the country and abroad to demand the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners held by the Hanoi regime.
About Viet Tan
With members inside Vietnam and around the world, Viet Tan (Vietnam Reform Party) aims to establish democracy and reform the country through peaceful means.
Duy Hoang: (202) 470-1678
SOURCE Viet Tan