House Lawmakers call for release of Vietnamese political prisoners
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Fifteen bipartisan members of Congress are calling on the Vietnamese Government to release human rights blogger Tran Huynh Duy Thuc and 26 additional wrongfully incarcerated political prisoners.
The letter, led by U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), urges the Vietnamese government "to uphold its commitments to international law and to release Mr. Thuc and all other imprisoned individuals on the attached list immediately and unconditionally." The letter cites the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention which called for Mr. Thuc's release after determining his detention to be "arbitrary and in violation of legal standards" of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Vietnam is a party.
The letter goes on to note that "although the government of Vietnam has indicated an interest in strengthening both economic and security ties with the United States," there remain significant concerns "that the continued imprisonment of political prisoners like Tran Huynh Duy Thuc shows a lack of commitment and respect for human rights."
Lofgren first asked for the release of these political prisoners during a United States Congressional delegation to Vietnam on March 31, 2015 after meeting with political dissidents. The Vietnamese government responded by intimidating several of the individuals who met with U.S. Members of Congress in Vietnam to speak out for better working conditions, political inclusion, or for the right to freely exercise their religion.
The letter was signed by U.S. Reps. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.), Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.), Daniel T. Kildee (D-Mich.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Ted Leiu (D-Calif.), Sander M. Levin (D-Mich.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif), Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), Ed Royce (R-Calif.) Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), Chris Smith (R- N.J.), and Mike Thompson (D-Calif.).
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