Vietnam arrests US pro-democracy activist

Associated Press Modified: April 29, 2012 at 2:01 am •  Published: April 28, 2012
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HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — A Vietnamese-American pro-democracy activist has been arrested and accused of terrorism for allegedly trying to sabotage liberation celebrations commemorating the end of the Vietnam War, state media said Sunday.

Nguyen Quoc Quan, 58, of California, was detained April 17 after arriving at the airport in southern Ho Chi Minh City, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported. He is accused of planning to hold protests for Viet Tan, a banned U.S. exile group, during this week's May Day festivities and the April 30 anniversary of the fall of the former U.S.-backed South Vietnamese capital, Saigon, to the northern communists in 1975.

Authorities also found many documents in Quan's possession on "terrorist training," the paper said. Quan, a mathematician, was previously sentenced to six months in jail by a Ho Chi Minh City court in 2008 for terrorism.

After being deported from Vietnam, Quan continued to travel from the U.S. to Thailand and Malaysia to train members of the Viet Tan group on nonviolent struggles in Vietnam, Tuoi Tre said.

Hanoi often uses vague national security laws to charge pro-democracy activists with terrorism, but the U.S. government has said it has seen no evidence that California-based Viet Tan, also known as the Vietnam Reform Party, is a terrorist organization.