A well known Vietnamese human rights lawyer and his household have arrived in america a 12 months after being stopped by police from boarding a flight to New York.
Vo An Don landed at Dulles Worldwide Airport in Washington on Thursday together with his spouse and three kids. He informed Radio Free Asia that they might depart Vietnam with none issues.
“Arriving in a rustic of freedom made me very completely happy,” he mentioned. “All the things went very nicely, because the Worldwide Group for Migration supported us and created favorable circumstances for us.”
Don has represented defendants in high-profile, politically delicate instances, together with blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, also referred to as Mom Mushroom, who was sentenced to 10 years in jail in June 2017 for “spreading propaganda towards the state.”
Final 12 months, he informed RFA that he and his household had determined to hunt asylum in america as a result of they have been struggling harassment from authorities in his dwelling province of Phu Yen and since he might now not work as a lawyer.
The Washington-based Worldwide Group for Migration secured financing for the household’s aircraft tickets, however authorities at Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh Metropolis wouldn’t permit them. board their flight in September 2022.
Airport police informed him to contact immigration authorities in Phu Yen for an evidence as to why he was not allowed to journey overseas.
US President Joe Biden’s go to to Hanoi final month cleared the best way for police to permit him to journey, Don posted on Fb. Simply earlier than Biden arrived, police knowledgeable Don that the journey ban on him and his household had been lifted, he wrote.
“The reality is that they wished me to remain in Vietnam as a hostage for negotiations with the US till they bought what they wished,” he wrote. “Then they let me go as a present for human rights.”
‘Traded as a commodity’
Ten years in the past, Don represented the spouse of a felony suspect who was overwhelmed to loss of life by police in 2012. He additionally defended 4 Vietnamese residents who have been jailed in 2017 after crusing to Australia in quest of work.
In 2017 he was stripped of his license to apply legislation after he posted a touch upon Fb saying that attorneys in Vietnam repeatedly use payouts to win instances for his or her purchasers.
On Thursday, Don and his household flew to Charlotte, North Carolina, after arriving in Dulles. They’d board a brand new flight to Fayetteville, Arkansas, their remaining vacation spot.
On Fb, Don cited Vietnam’s structure, which says that “residents have the best to freedom of motion and residence inside and outdoors the nation with none hindrance.”
As a substitute, authorities deal with the folks of Vietnam “like filth,” he wrote.
“They’re bullied and oppressed, and after they wish to depart the nation, they’re traded as some kind of commodity,” he wrote. “I’m a human being, not a pet to present as a present to guests.”
Translated by Anna Vu. Edited by Matt Reed.