Mon, Apr 30, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Vietnam arrests US pro-democracy activist

AP, HANOI

A Vietnamese American pro-democracy activist was arrested and accused of terrorism for allegedly trying to sabotage liberation celebrations commemorating the end of the Vietnam War, state media said yesterday.

Nguyen Quoc Quan, 58, of California, was detained on April 17 after arriving at the airport in Ho Chi Minh City, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported. He is accused of planning to hold protests for Viet Tan, a banned US exile group, during this week’s May Day festivities and today’s anniversary of the fall of the former US-backed South Vietnamese capital, Saigon, to the communists in 1975.

Authorities also found many documents in Quan’s possession on “terrorist training,” the paper said. Quan, a mathematician, was previously sentenced to six months in jail by a court in Ho Chi Minh City — formerly Saigon — in 2008 for terrorism.

After being deported from Vietnam, Quan continued to travel from the US to Thailand and Malaysia to train members of the Viet Tan group on nonviolent struggles in Vietnam, Tuoi Tre said.

“The Vietnamese government’s accusation of ‘terrorism’ against Dr Quan is completely fabricated and has no basis,” a statement posted on Viet Tan’s Web site said. “The detention of Dr Nguyen Quoc Quan is the latest example of the Vietnamese Communist Party’s ongoing crackdown on human rights defenders.”

Meanwhile, the Capital Security newspaper reported that authorities have released activist Bui Thi Minh Hang, 48, from a re-education camp near Hanoi.

She was taken there in November last year for causing social disturbances after playing an active role in the unprecedented protests against China last summer over tensions surrounding disputed territory in the South China Sea.

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