Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), a co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Vietnam, today issued the following statement regarding the sentencing in Vietnam of American citizen Michael Nguyen to 12 years in prison:
“The Vietnamese government has never hesitated to violate the human rights of its own citizens, all with the aid of a complicit and abetting Vietnamese judicial system. It is alarming that they now have turned that corrupt system on visiting American citizens. The facts of the case are simple: an American citizen, Michael Nguyen, was convicted by the communist Vietnamese government in the hope it would deter other Vietnamese Americans from visiting Vietnam and exposing the Vietnamese people to 'radical' ideas like democracy, freedom, and human rights. Michael Nguyen is innocent and the Vietnamese government's lack of any kind of substantial evidence that Michael committed a crime proves it.
“I call on the Vietnamese government to withdraw this farcical conviction, and immediately and unconditionally release Michael so he can return to the U.S. and his family. His continued imprisonment further degrades U.S.-Vietnam relations and further alienates Vietnam.”