Vietnamese-American activist Nguyen Quoc Quan was arrested earlier this month in Vietnam for allegedly attempting to stop celebrations in remembrance of the end of the Vietnam War [History backgrounder], reports said on Sunday. Vietnamese newspaper Tuoi Tre [media website, in Vietnamese] reported Quan was arrested on charges of terrorism [Tuoi Tre report, in Vietnamese] for planning to hold protests in support of a banned group of US exiles, the Viet Tan (Vietnam Reform Party) [party website]. The Viet Tan on Sunday released a statement [text] regarding Quan's arrest:
The Vietnamese government's accusation of "terrorism" against Dr. Quan is completely fabricated and has no basis. The detention of Dr. Nguyen Quoc Quan is the latest example of the Vietnamese Communist Party's ongoing crackdown on human rights defenders.The statement also accuses the Vietnamese Hanoi regime of arbitrarily detaining peaceful human rights defenders by using vague terrorism laws and challenges the Hanoi regime to prove its accusations in an international court of law.
Aside from Quan, Vietnam has cracked down recently on other pro-democracy supporters. Earlier this month Vietnamese prosecutors charged three bloggers with spreading pro-democracy propaganda [JURIST report] in violation of the country's criminal law. The three individuals were arrested on charges of spreading propaganda to defame the Vietnamese government, in violation of Article 88 of the Criminal Code. If convicted, the bloggers would face 10 to 20 years in prison. In November an appeals court in Vietnam reduced the sentence of pro-democracy blogger and professor Pham Minh Hoang, alias Phan Kien Quoc, by more than half after he was originally sentenced [JURIST reports] to three years in prison for writing anti-government articles after allegedly joining the Viet Tan.