WASHINGTON (AP) â€” The U.S. is urging Vietnam to allow its citizens to express their political views without fear of retribution following the detention of a prominent human rights activist.
State Department spokesman John Kirby said Monday that the U.S. is deeply concerned by the arrest last week of 46-year-old Nguyen Van Dai under a national security provision of Vietnam's penal code.
Kirby urged the government to release unconditionally all prisoners of conscience.
p>Dai is a former human rights lawyer. He is accused of spreading anti-state propaganda. His detention comes as the ruling Communist Party prepares for its five-year congress next year.
Vietnam's relations with the U.S. have improved significantly in recent years, yet its human rights record remains a sore point.
Human Rights Watch says Vietnam holds at least 130 political prisoners.
Politics & GovernmentHuman RightsVietnamhuman rights activist
Source: “Associated Press”