Monday, December 04, 2006

Do something good

Hey folks, I don't usually use this forum to talk about serious things, but since I know there are a few people out there who actually read this, I figure I'd use my tiny soapbox for something useful for a change.

I've talked about my friend Steph here before, and her cousin Sylvie, and some of you guys have probably met them in person by now as well. Stephanie's father, Hoan Nguyen, is a U.S. Citizen who opened a school in Vietnam. Eight months ago he was imprisoned after he was falsely accused of misappropriating money, when the school finally became successful and he attempted to pay back his U.S. lenders.

He's being held without charges, due process, or access to a U.S. attorney. Her mother recently saved up and paid $85,000 in bail to the Vietnamese government, who took the money and did not release him. Steph's family has kept quiet about it because they feared publicity would make the situation worse, but now have no other options.

There is trade legislation pending that would give Vietnam Most Favored Nation status and states in paragraph 5, "Vietnam has undertaken ... extensive legal reform. These measures have dramatically improved Vietnam's business and investment climate." Clearly this is not the case if they imprison foreign investors without cause or due process. Steph's family is asking people to contact their Senators and Representatives to urge them to defer consideration of this bill until Hoan is released, the bail money returned to his wife, and if Vietnam claims a dispute does exist, that they submit it to an internationally recognized arbitration forum.

Please see the web site for more information about Hoan, the trade bill, and how to contact your representatives.

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