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Cablegate: Update On Jailed Amcit Dissident Nguyen Quoc Quan

VZCZCXRO4577
PP RUEHHM
DE RUEHHI #0209 0531009
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 221009Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7226
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 4338

UNCLAS HANOI 000209

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL VM
SUBJECT: UPDATE ON JAILED AMCIT DISSIDENT NGUYEN QUOC QUAN

Ref: 07 HCMC 1184

1. (SBU) Summary: Amcit Nguyen Quoc Quan, jailed in November 2007,
is still "under investigation" and has yet to be charged.
Meanwhile, a prospective defense lawyer has reported receiving
threatening messages warning him not to represent Dr. Quan. The
Ambassador raised Dr. Quan's case again with Vice Foreign Minister
Pham Binh Minh on February 20. End summary.

2. (SBU) Dr. Nguyen Quoc Quan was arrested on November xx, 2007
while trying to leave the country. He apparently was using a false
Cambodian travel document to cross the Vietnam-Cambodia border. Dr.
Quan, a member of the Viet Tan organization, had earlier
participated in peaceful anti-regime activities in Ho Chi Minh City.
Others were arrested there, including another American citizen and
a French national, who have both been released and allowed to leave
Vietnam.

3. (SBU) The Ambassador raised the case of jailed Amcit Nguyen Quoc
Quan (Reftel) again with Vice Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh on
February 20. The Ambassador noted unconfirmed reports that
Vietnamese authorities intend to quickly try Dr. Quan and expel him
from the country. Noting intense interest in the United States in
Dr. Quan's case, and our belief that Dr. Quan's political activities
were peaceful in nature, the Ambassador underscored that Dr. Quan's
release would not only be the right thing to do, but would also
prevent his incarceration from negatively affecting the bilateral
relationship. Minh responded that, while the investigation is
ongoing, the GVN also wants to finish it as soon as possible as they
do not want to have the case "unresolved." The Ambassador noted
that Dr. Quan's wife had asked to see him in prison and that, while
we know this is not normally permitted during the investigation
period, we requested that she be granted access on humanitarian
grounds.

3. (SBU) Nguyen Quoc Quan's wife informed Mission Vietnan that she
had asked lawyer Dang Dung to represent her husband. Immediately
after the Consulate contacted Mr. Dung regarding power of attorney
and paperwork issues, Mr. Dung reported receiving threatening
SMS/text messages. In his discussion with us, Dung indicated these
messages included threats to his life and that of his son if he were
to represent Nguyen Quoc Quan in court. A friend of Dung's called
the number from which the text message was transmitted and spoke
with an unidentified man for 20 minutes, assessing the unknown
interlocutor as "not as a mafia thug but part of an unknown
professional organization." Dung was visibly shaken and confirmed
that, ecause of the threats, he will not represent Nguyen Quoc
Quan.

4. (SBU) Comment: Given that the second Amcit involved in this case
has already been released, it seems clear that Dr. Quan's use of
false travel documents is complicating what we believe are efforts
by some in the GVN to see him expelled. The threats to attorney
Dung are extremely troubling, and Mission Vietnam will be seeking
opportunities to protest these actions without further complicating
his situation.

5 (U) This cable was coordinated with ConGen HCMC.

MICHALAK

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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