Congressmen Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), and Lou Correa (CA-46) today spoke with U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Dan Kritenbrink to express their serious concerns about the arrest and detention by the Vietnamese government of U.S. citizen William Nguyen.
The 32-year-old Nguyen, a graduate student studying in Singapore, was arrested by Vietnamese government authorities while taking part in a peaceful protest on June 9 in Ho Chi Minh City against the Vietnamese government’s economic and censorship policies.
At the conclusion of the hour-long call, the Congress Members released the following statement:
“In speaking today with the Ambassador, we expressed not only our own serious concerns about the arrest and imprisonment of William, but the concerns of a growing number of Congressional Members.
“Our main message to the Ambassador was that William must be released and he must be released immediately. Our expectation is that the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam and the U.S. government do whatever it can--at the highest levels--to obtain this release. We also requested that the State Department notify the Vietnamese government that our country expects William, as a U.S. citizen, to be treated well and fairly while in custody.
“We were thankful that U.S. Embassy officials were able to meet with William today and spend some time with him. The officials found William in good spirits, and recovering well from the physical injuries he received during his arrest.
“Our next step will be to contact President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to express the need for immediate action at the highest levels to achieve William’s release. We will also be communicating our concerns and expectations over the treatment of William to the Vietnamese Ambassador to the U.S.
“It is in the best interest of the Vietnamese government, and their continuing relations with the U.S., to release William. The recent praise Hanoi received following the release of activist Nguyen Van Dai should make clear that the international community is watching and will respond accordingly to acts of civility and justice.
“We will remain in contact with Ambassador Kritenbrink to monitor William’s situation, and we will continue to work with both our government and officials in Vietnam to obtain the immediate release of William.”
In addition, William’s family—who have been in constant communication with Members of Congress—has issued the following statement:
"Our pursuit for justice in William’s detention has been overwhelmingly supportive. From friends and family dropping everything and extending themselves, to Members of Congress accommodating last minute meetings, and going above and beyond to advocate on Will’s behalf is absolutely humbling. But, most of all, it really reflects that type of influential human being he is. We were able to share his story with almost every major international news outlet and channel. But, that’s not enough. We want him home. His friends want him home. We demand that he immediately be released. And simply just that. This has escalated out of control and we demand justice."