Home > Local News > Lawmaker protests ‘reprehensible’ Vietnam attack on U.S. diplomat

Lawmaker protests ‘reprehensible’ Vietnam attack on U.S. diplomat

Human rights campaigner: Christian Marchant, a political officer at the
US embassy in Hanoi, who was allegedly attacked by Vietnamese police
 
Nguyen Van Ly muzzled in court by Viet cops
A member of the congressional
caucuses on Vietnam and human rights lashed out at Hanoi for roughing
up a U.S. diplomat who was attempting to visit a well-known dissident.
Christian Marchant, a political
officer with the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, was attempting to meet with
Father Nguyen Van Ly, a democracy advocate being held under house
arrest. Ly told Radio Free Asia that the diplomat was “wrestled down to the ground right in the middle of the road in front of hundreds of witnesses.
“We are aware of and deeply
concerned by the incident and have officially registered a strong
protest with the Vietnamese government in Hanoi,” State Department
spokesman Mark Toner said Wednesday.
Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), a
member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement
Friday that Marchant’s legs were repeatedly slammed in a car door in
violation of international laws protecting diplomats.

“This attack on a U.S. diplomat is
beyond reprehensible,” Royce said. “My staff has met with this
political officer and can confirm that he is no threat to Vietnam.
That, however, didn’t prevent his legs from being crushed by Vietnamese
officials.
“In the past, the
Vietnamese government has reserved the use of its thuggish tactics for
peaceful dissidents and those deemed as threats to the government’s
stranglehold on power. It’s now become clear that no one is immune from
abuse
,” Royce added.
On the same day of the attack,
Royce introduced H.R.156, the Vietnam Human Rights Sanctions Act, a
bill that imposes sanctions on Vietnamese government officials who are
complicit in human rights abuses committed against the people of
Vietnam.
The bill resurrects an effort
by former Rep. Joseph “Anh” Cao (R-La.), who introduced the sanctions
bill, co-sponsored by Royce and others, in November.
Royce also introduced a bill Wednesday that calls on the State Department to list Vietnam as a “country of particular concern” in regards to religious freedom.
That bill has five co-sponsors:
Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Loretta
Sanchez (D-Calif.), Chris Smith (R-N.J.), and Frank Wolf (R-Va.).
“It is widely understood that
Vietnam has backslid on every human rights front,” said Royce. “This
attack on a U.S. diplomat is further proof of why we need to make human
rights discussions a top priority, and shows why we need to relist
Vietnam as a ‘Country of Particular Concern’ for violations of
religious freedom. Maybe this assault will convince the State
Department to make that listing.”
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Categories: Local News
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