Fight for life

Fight for life

Court of Appeals hears case of deported Vietnamese freedom fighter

By André Coleman 10/09/2013

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About two dozen people protested during a hearing Tuesday at the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena in an effort to overturn a deportation order issued against a Vietnamese man accused of illegally attempting to reenter the United States.   

According to his lawyer Jerry Kaufman, Vinh Nguyen, of Baldwin Park, legally entered the country 20 years ago. However, he unsuccessfully tried to use his brother’s passport to reenter the country after he visited the Philippines in 2001 to protest human rights violations in Vietnam.

After being detained in Manila, US officials declared Nguyen voluntarily gave up his residency in the US by committing the crime. In 2009, a lower court ordered Nguyen’s deportation to Vietnam.

Nguyen is an active member of the anti-communist group Government of Free Vietnam and has actively fought for free speech in that country, along with an end to all human rights abuses and Internet restrictions.

“He used his brother’s passport, but the original immigration judge ruled that is not an issue of moral turpitude,” Kaufman told the Weekly.

“If there is a chance he could be murdered or tortured if he is sent back, the United States is supposed to grant him asylum,” Kaufman said. “There is, based on the facts in this case, a certainty the Vietnamese government will torture and kill him.”

According to a story appearing on MMD (Mass Media Distribution), Nguyen led resistance against the communist takeover of the country with the withdrawal of US troops.

“This is unfair and unjust,” Nguyen Huu Chanh, chairman of the Vietnamese National Party, told the news service. “Is this how the United States rewards freedom fighters? When the communists took over Vietnam in 1975, we knew their deceit and tyranny.

“We fled to the neighboring jungles and fought their oppression for many years. In those jungles, Vinh Tan Nguyen was one of my most loyal and devoted deputy commanders — one of 15 such commanders who helped lead the resistance against the communist slavery of our homeland. And now the US government treats Vinh Tan Nguyen as a terrorist threat? It is not fair, it’s not right, and the U.S. government needs to consider the consequences of any deportation to Vietnam, especially in light of the US government’s unequivocal obligations under the United Nation’s Torture Convention.”

Vietnam has the eighth-fastest growing economy in the world, one with an $8.3 billion trade surplus with the US, an 18.5 percent increase over 2012. According to the Vietnam News, the country has increased its garment export business with the US.

In July, American labor leaders led by James P. Hoffa, son of the iconic former Teamster chief, and human rights advocates demanded that President Barack Obama stop all trade agreements with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang until human rights violations in that country ended.


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