U.S. officials visit imprisoned activist in Vietnam

The Sacramento Bee

November 6, 2012

By Stephen Magagnini
smagagnini@sacbee.com

Officials from the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City – formerly known as Saigon – have visited Elk Grove political activist Nguyen "Richard" Quan five times since his arrest on terrorism charges more than six months ago.

"We believe no one should be imprisoned for peacefully expressing their political views or their aspirations for a freer, more democratic and prosperous future," said U.S. Embassy spokesman Christopher Hodges. "We continue to call on the government of Vietnam to quickly and transparently resolve this case."

State Department officials have raised Nguyen’s case with Vietnamese officials during visits by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Hodges said.

"Ambassador (David) Shear has discussed the case with Vietnamese officials on numerous occasions, and we remain in close touch with Mr. Nguyen’s wife." Nguyen is scheduled to go on trial for plotting to overthrow the communist government.

"The investigation is complete, he is going to trial very soon," said his anxious wife, Huong Mai Ngo. She is able to communicate with her husband only through a U.S. consular official who visits him monthly behind bars.

Nguyen, 59, was arrested April 17 at the airport in Ho Chi Minh City under his American name, Richard Nguyen. He is accused of plotting "demonstrations and terrorist activities" during celebrations for the anniversary of the communist victory on April 30, 1975, according to the Vietnam News Agency.

He was ordered detained for four months before the charges were switched to plotting to overthrow the Vietnamese government – the second time in five years he has been arrested for promoting nonviolent protest.

Source: The Sacramento Bee


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