December 7, 2007
According to a December 6, 2007 article on the Cong An Nhan Dan—official mouthpiece of the Ministry of Public Security—a Vietnamese American named Le Van Phan admitted under interrogation that the weapon police said they discovered in his luggage at the airport in Saigon was given to him by a member of Viet Tan in the United States. Le Van Phan, and his wife Nguyen Thi Thinh, were arrested at the airport in Saigon on November 23, 2007.
In regards to this incident, Viet Tan affirms that:
Le Van Phan and Nguyen Thi Thinh are not members of Viet Tan and are in no way associated or connected to Viet Tan.
We categorically reject this fabricated charge by the Vietnamese communist authorities. So-called confessions by Le Van Phan or Nguyen Thi Thinh while they remain under police detention are completely worthless.
The fact that authorities detained Le Van Phan and Nguyen Thi Thinh for over two weeks—without allowing a visit by the US consulate—and then coerced a false confession is a blatant violation of international norms and human rights.
We empathize with the difficulty faced by Le Van Phan and Nguyen Thi Thinh along with the distress their family is experiencing while the two remain under police control. Whatever the two must agree to perform while under detention and severe threat is somewhat unavoidable and understandable.
The mission of Viet Tan is to contribute to the democratization of Vietnam in order to set the foundation for the country’s renovation. This mission has been pursued through peaceful, non-violent activities within Vietnam for many years.
In broadcasts over Radio Chan Troi Moi (New Horizon) and written materials distributed to people inside the country, Viet Tan has aimed to promote nonviolent struggle as the means for achieving democracy. Such was the contents of the leaflet that Viet Tan members and supporters were preparing to distribute when they were detained on November 17th. This leaflet was subsequently publicized by Viet Tan in a press conference in San Jose, California on November 20th and on our website www.viettan.org.
Since November 17th, several thousand of these leaflets have been distributed by Viet Tan members in Vietnam to citizens, foreign embassies, and media outlets. This is an ongoing effort by our members within the country.
The Vietnamese authorities have used the state-control media to slander Viet Tan’s activities as terrorism; manipulated information said to have been obtained from interrogations of our people under detention; and fabricated a connection between Viet Tan, Le Van Phan and Nguyen Thi Thinh, and the handgun and thirteen bullets they allegedly brought into the country. Once again, we challenge the regime to publish over state-controlled media the leaflet—in its unedited entirety—that authorities seized and termed “evidence” so that that the Vietnamese people can reach their own conclusion.
Duy Hoang +1 (202) 470-1678
Chi Dang +1 (408) 228-4892