(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) joined Rep. Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) and Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) today in sending a bicameral letter with more than 20 House and Senate colleagues to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo highlighting a number of troubling cases of arrests and detentions of independent journalists in Vietnam.

“Vietnam is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and as such has committed to respecting individual freedoms of belief, speech, association, press, and the right to uphold assembly and political expression,” write the lawmakers in their letter to Secretary Pompeo. “The United States has an obligation to both raise these egregious human and political rights violations with its Vietnamese counterparts and take steps to attempt to shape the behavior of the Communist Party of Vietnam.”

A copy of the letter can be found here.

The bicameral letter outlines specific incidents, including:

  • In 2017, Vietnamese authorities arrested and sentenced videographer Nguyen Van Hoa to seven years in prison and three years of house arrest for publishing videos from a public demonstration protesting a government response to an environmental disaster.
  • Blogger and journalist Le Anh Hung was arrested in 2018 after criticizing the country’s repressive cybersecurity laws, and remains in detention to this day. 
  • And this year, independent journalist Truong Duy Nhat was abducted in Bangkok, Thailand a day after he registered for refugee status and requested asylum at the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and is being held without charges at Hanoi’s T-16 detention center under the authority of the Ministry of Public Security.

All three journalists are contributors to Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Voice of America (VOA), both among the networks that are part of the U.S. Agency for Global Media.

The letter is also signed by Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Tim Kaine (D-Va.); and Representatives Susan A. Davis, Jan Schakowsky, Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr., James P. McGovern, David N. Cicilline, Ro Khanna, Steve Cohen, Scott H. Peters, Eliot L. Engel, Karen Bass, J. Luis Correa, Ted W. Lieu, Zoe Lofgren, Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr., Donald S. Beyer Jr., Eleanor Holmes Norton, Adriano Espaillat, Anna G. Eshoo.