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Vietnam's Interference with Free Speech in America Demands American Response

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Dear Mr. President:

The two undersigned Vietnamese American Bar Associations together request that you condemn the Vietnamese communist government's recent attempt to chill free speech in America when that government arrested American citizen Cong Thanh Do on August 14, 2006, during his family vacation in Vietnam, and imprisoned the Californian engineer for 38 days on the ludicrous charge that he plotted to bomb the U.S. Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City.

The Vietnamese government could not produce any evidence to support the charge. Mr. Do, an American pro-democracy activist, who immediately sought help from the above U.S. Consulate for a safe return to the U.S., vehemently protested the charge by going on a hunger strike that lasted until his release. Absent even a scintilla of evidence to justify the charge, Mr. Do's arrest could only be attributed to the fact that while at home in America, he had published calls for peaceful democratic reforms in Vietnam.

By arresting Mr. Do, the Vietnamese government punished him for exercising his freedom of speech as an American while in America, a right guaranteed to him by the U.S. Constitution, which members of these bar associations took an oath to support. Furthermore, Mr. Do's arrest surpassed the human right violations that the Vietnamese government commits daily against its own citizens. The arrest amounted to an effort by that government, in violation of international laws, to assert the force of its tyrannical regime extraterritorially to chill free speech in this country.

Such a blatant affront to our sovereignty and to the spirit of our Constitution must not go unanswered. As members of the bars, the attorneys in these associations are committed to the defense of liberty. As members of a community that has escaped tyranny to call this land home, we are also committed to the defense of democracy. Our commitment to those ideals compels us to issue this call today:

The chilling effect of Mr. Do's imprisonment on free speech in America, especially among Vietnamese Americans, must be contained. That can only be done after the Vietnamese government stops defaming Mr. Do, clears his name, apologizes to his family and, as a corrective gesture, releases all prisoners-of-conscience. Toward that end and to ensure that the Vietnamese government will never again threaten Americans' free exercise of our inalienable rights, we call upon the U.S. government to assert all necessary and appropriate pressures on the Vietnamese government.

Sincerely,

_______/signature in PDF/__________________________________________________

On behalf of the Vietnamese American Bar Association of Northern California,

Candice Hamant, VABANC President

_________/signature in PDF/___________________________________________

On behalf of the Vietnamese American Bar Association of Southern California,

Yen "Jeannie" Nguyen, Director, Board of VABASC

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Vietnamese American Bar Association of
Northern California

15 N. Market Street
San Jose, CA 95113
vabanc.org
vabanc@gmail.com

Vietnamese American Bar Association of
Southern California

11770 Warner Avenue #210
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

 

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The Vietnamese American Bar Association of Northern California - standing up in defense of liberty.

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Vietnam's Interference with Free Speech in America Demands American Response