U.S. Ambassador Needs to do More to Secure Release of Pro-Democracy Advocate Detained in Vietnam

Letter

By:  Frank Wolf Dan Lungren Linda S├ínchez Bob Filner Zoe Lofgren
Date: May 18, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

The U.S. ambassador to Vietnam needs to do more to secure the release of pro-democracy advocate - and U.S. citizen - Dr. Nguyen Quoc Quan, who was arrested April 17 when he landed at the airport in Ho Chi Minh City, several members of Congress say.

In a May 17 letter to U.S. Ambassador David Shear, five members of Congress expressed concern that Shear has not met with Nguyen and urged the ambassador to "work to secure (Nguyen's) immediate release so he can be reunited with his wife and two sons."

The letter was signed by Reps. Frank Wolf (R-VA), Dan Lungren (R-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) and Bob Filner (D-CA).

"If the U.S. Embassy does not stand with Dr. Nguyen Quoc Quan then what assurances do other U.S. citizens have when traveling to authoritarian countries?" the letter said. "America must be a voice for the voiceless. The U.S. Embassy in Vietnam must be an island of freedom."

The letter followed a May 15 hearing of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission at which Nguyen's wife provided emotional testimony about her husband's detention. Wolf is the co-chair of the commission.

At the hearing Wolf said he was disappointed to learn Nguyen had been visited only once by a U.S. consulate officer in the one month that he has been detained. Wolf said Ambassador Shear needs to take a more active role in securing Nguyen's release because he is a U.S. citizen.

In addition to speaking out about Nguyen's detention, Wolf is co-sponsoring measures in Congress to encourage Vietnam to adopt democratic principles, including H.R. 5157, the Fostering Rights through Economic Engagement in Vietnam Act (FREE Vietnam Act), and H. Res. 484, a resolution calling upon Vietnam to respect basic human rights.

The Honorable David Shear
U.S. Ambassador to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Ambassador Shear:

We write today to express our concern over the arrest and detention of a U.S. citizen, Dr. Nguyen Quoc Quan, by Vietnamese authorities on April 17, 2012. Further, we write to express our concern that you, as U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam, have not yet visited the U.S. citizen and democracy activist, who has been imprisoned for nearly one month on politically motivated charges.

During a hearing convened by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission today, Dr. Nguyen's wife, Mrs. Mai Huong Ngo, provided emotional testimony about her husband's ongoing detention. It was shocking to hear that no one from the U.S. Embassy has reached out to Mrs. Ngo regarding the detention of her husband. We urge you to personally contact both Dr. Nguyen and Mrs. Ngo to show solidarity with and concern for two American citizens.

In addition, if Mrs. Ngo decides to go to Vietnam and attempt to see her husband, we request that you ensure her safety by personally meeting her at the airport and escorting her to the embassy and the jail where Dr. Nguyen is being held so that she does not meet the same fate as her husband.

If the U.S. Embassy does not stand with Dr. Nguyen Quoc Quan then what assurances do other U.S. citizens have when traveling to authoritarian countries? America must be a voice for the voiceless. The U.S. Embassy in Vietnam must be an island of freedom.

We urge you to meet with Dr. Nguyen and work to secure his immediate release so he can be reunited with his wife and two sons. To speak with Mrs. Ngo, please contact Representative Wolf's office at 202-225-5136 for her information.

We would like to be kept abreast of this case and look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Frank R. Wolf Daniel E. Lungren
Member of Congress Member of Congress

Loretta Sanchez Zoe Lofgren
Member of Congress Member of Congress

Bob Filner
Member of Congress