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Cablegate: Ambassador Raises Amcit Arrest Cases with Vice Minister Of

VZCZCXRO6510
RR RUEHHM
DE RUEHHI #1994/01 3311059
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 271059Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6775
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 3987
RHEHNSC/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 001994

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, DRL/AWH, CA/OCS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV CASC CMGT VM

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR RAISES AMCIT ARREST CASES WITH VICE MINISTER OF
PUBLIC SECURITY

REF: HANOI 1969

1. (SBU) Summary: On November 27, the Ambassador met with Vice
Minister for Public Security Nguyen Van Huong to reiterate requests
for consular access to arrested U.S. citizens Mr. Leon Truong, Ms.
Le Helen, and Mr. Le Van Phan, and to inquire about the whereabouts
of U.S. citizen Nguyen Quoc Quan. VM Huong stated that MPS is ready
to grant access to the three arrested U.S. citizens, but could not
immediately confirm when. While stating that the GVN has no
knowledge of nor has it detained anyone named Nguyen Quan Quoc, VM
Huong provided a Cambodian ID card of Mr. Ly Seng who entered
Vietnam illegally and is in police custody. VM Huong indicated that
consular access would also be granted to Ms. Le Helen and Mr. Le Van
Phan, arrested for attempting to enter Vietnam with a loaded weapon
in their checked baggage. VM Huong maintained that Viet Tan is a
terrorist organization and that all arrested are connected with the
group. The Ambassador said the U.S. does not consider Viet Tan to
be a terrorist organization; reiterated that these people appear to
have been peacefully expressing their political views and that the
United States protested their arrest and called for their immediate
release. VM Huong said he could not accede to the request for
immediate release. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Vice Minister of Public Security Nguyen Van Huong called
the meeting in response to the Ambassador's letter to him (reftel)
regarding the arrests of U.S. citizens in HCMC. After providing a
lengthy statement on the history and goals of Viet Tan organization,
he concluded that, while the Viet Tan may no longer use violent
means, it is still listed as a terrorist organization by the GVN and
it advocates the overthrow of the GVN. The Ambassador respectfully
disagreed, reiterating that the U.S. government rejects the
allegation that the Viet Tan is a terrorist organization, pointing
out that Viet Tan explicitly advocates only peaceful means to
promote political change in Vietnam. VM Huong handed over a number
of documents to make his case, which the Embassy will translate and
review. VM Huong asked the Ambassador to reiterate with Washington
and the Vietnamese-American community in the United States that,
even though the United States and Vietnam do not see eye to eye on
this issue, persons entering Vietnam to advocate for the overthrow
of the current government change are breaking Vietnamese law and
will be arrested. The Ambassador said we would review the documents
but that our view was that Viet Tan is not a terrorist organization;
that these people were peacefully expressing their political views
and the United States protested their arrest and called for their
immediate release. VM Huong said that he could not agree to that
request.

3. (SBU) The Ambassador focused the conversation on the issue of
consular access to Mr. Truong, reminding VM Huong of the bilateral
agreement to provide such access within 48 hours. Huong stated that
MPS is ready to grant access and will ask the MFA to provide Mission
Vietnam with a dipnote to that affect. He confirmed that Mr. Truong
is being charged with terrorism under Article 84 of the Criminal
Code. When Mr. Truong was arrested, he was printing documents
explaining how to organize and protest against the GVN. VM Huong
provided Mr. Truong's written confession (in Vietnamese).

4. (SBU) The Ambassador requested any information the GVN might have
on Mr. Nguyen Quan Quoc, who was reported by U.S. sources to have
also been arrested on November 17. VM Huong reiterated that MPS has
reviewed its records and has no knowledge of anyone by that name
being held in detention. VM Huong then passed a photocopy of a
Cambodian ID card with the name "Ly Seng". He stated that Mr. Seng
had been arrested on the Cambodian border for entering Vietnam
illegally and asked for U.S. help in determining whether Mr. Ly Seng
might actually be Mr. Nguyen Quan Quoc. The Ambassador agreed to
check our records and provide a response. Note: Post has compared
the photo on the Cambodian ID and the U.S. passport photo for Mr.
Nguyen Quan Quoc and they appear to be the same person. End Note.

5. (SBU) The Ambassador also requested consular access to U.S.
citizens Ms. Le Helen and Mr. Le Van Phan, arrested on November 23
for attempting to enter Vietnam with a loaded weapon in their
checked baggage. VM Huong agreed to facilitate access, but again
noted that "the bureaucracy may take time to act." VM Huong stated
that the GVN had contacted U.S. anti-terrorism authorities regarding
these arrests, as the GVN believes these two persons to be
affiliated with the Viet Tan, although he did not provide evidence
to support this assertion.

6. (SBU) Comment: We are following up on Huong's assurance that
consular access to three Amcits in GVN custody will be granted. We
now are fairly certain that Mr. Nguyen Quan Quoc is in Vietnamese
custody. We will request further information on Mr. Nguyen Quan
Quoc (aka Ly Seng) as well as request consular access to Mr. Nguyen
as soon as possible. While Vietnam continues to assert that Viet
Tan is a "terrorist organization," and we will carefully examine all

HANOI 00001994 002 OF 002


documents provided by MPS, we do not expect to find new information
regarding the history, aims, or tactics of the group. Mission
Vietnam will undertake a consular visit to Mr. Truong, Ms. Le Helen
and Mr. Phan as soon as possible and will press for consular access
to and more information on Mr. Nguyen Quan Quoc.

Michalak

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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