SANTA ANA (CBSLA) – Michael Nguyen of the Orange Province spoke on Wednesday about his two-year experience in Vietnam, which the government described as an attempt to overthrow the state.
At a press conference with journalists he said that the ordinary man had blindfolded him, handcuffed him and put him in a car.
I was detained and interrogated for 16 hours simultaneously for several days, Nguyen continues.
The U.S. Consulate only found out about his arrest 12 days later in Ho Chi Minh City. He said that when he could meet them, they were under observation and could only talk about their health and basic needs.
Nguyen – who ran a printing house in California and was mainly the guardian of his four daughters – visited the family in June 2018 and was arrested.
An undated photo of Michael Nguyen with his family, which he shared in 2018 when he first didn’t come home. (Credit: family photo/change. org)
He stated that he could not testify that he had been sentenced to 12 years in prison.
On Sunday, the Vietnamese Americans returned to their orange house after being separated from their wives and children. During his imprisonment he was supported by local leaders such as the representative of Kathy Porter.
I love my girls, Nguyen said. I love my wife. It was very intense, but I also knew I had to be strong. I know my community is strong. I know all the more that my family is very strong. What I couldn’t know was the determination of so many people in our government and my family who would fight for me for so long.
Nguyen said that he had met other people from different countries who had also been detained, but who had not received the support he had received.
Many of them had no one to fight for them. Maybe they don’t know how, or maybe they come from a country that doesn’t have the freedoms that we have here in America. Maybe they don’t have elected officials to fight for them like I do. A lot of these people have suffered even more than me, Nguyen said.
While Nguyen was initially sentenced to 12 years in prison, a Kathy Porter representative said that all U.S. officials can conclude that Nguyen was arrested under the General Anti-State Activities Act … We haven’t been able to find any evidence to support these allegations… He received no information about the facts supporting the alleged case… and was not allowed to present evidence at trial.
Local officials such as Porter have criticised Vietnam for arresting Nguyen and accused the country of violating freedom of expression and deterring democracy.
Nguyen thanked Porter and the representatives. Alan Lowenthal, Lou Correa, Harley Ruda, Brad Sherman, Al Green from Texas and Ted Yoho from Florida.
Nguyen also thanked the American ambassador to Vietnam, Daniel Kritenbrunck, who, he said, together with former Republican representatives also played an important role in his release. Ed Rafoyce and Mimi Walters.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. City News Service contributed to this report).