[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific
US diplomat 'attacked' in Vietnam
US protests to Hanoi after diplomat allegedly manhandled and detained by police while trying to visit dissident.
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2011 14:22 GMT
Marchant was attempting to visit a dissident Catholic priest when he was stopped by police

The US has registered a protest with the Vietnamese government after it said one of its diplomats was manhandelled and detained by police in central Vietnam.

Radio Free Asia, which is funded by Washington, reported on Thursday that the diplomat was trying to visit the home of a Vietnamese dissident in the city of Hue when police stopped him.

Christian Marchant, a political officer at the US embassy in the capital Hanoi, continued to try to reach Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly, with whom he had an appointment, and was reportedly then wrestled to the ground and driven away in a police car.

"It's a clear violation of the Vienna Convention" which governs the protection of diplomats, a US official, who declined to be named, said. "We're quite concerned by it."

'Deeply concerned'

Ly, a dissident Catholic priest, was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2007 on charges of trying to undermine the Communist government.

The sixty-seven-year old was released for a period of 12 months last year after suffering a brain tumour and is now under house arrest.

His temporary release expires in March 2011.

The US embassy in Hanoi confirmed only that the diplomat had been manhandelled.

"We are aware of and deeply concerned by the incident in Hue and have officially registered a strong protest with the Vietnamese government in Hanoi as well as the Vietnamese Embassy in Washington, DC," Beau Miller, an embassy spokesman, told Al Jazeera.

"Diplomats are entitled under international law to special protection against attack and the government of Vietnam has responsibility to take appropriate steps to prevent any attack on the person the freedom or the dignity of the diplomat."

Police in Hue did not comment on the incident.

The US has pushed Vietnam for an improvement in its human rights record in the past.

Washington has called for the government to allow people of all religions to practice their faiths freely and to stop jailing pro-democracy dissidents.

Vietnam does not permit any challenge to its one-party rule.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
A handful of agencies that provide tours to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea say business is growing.
A political power struggle masquerading as religious strife grips Nigeria - with mixed-faith couples paying the price.
The current surge in undocumented child migrants from Central America has galvanized US anti-immigration groups.
Absenteeism among doctors at government hospitals is rife, prompting innovative efforts to ensure they turn up for work.
Marginalised and jobless, desperate young men in Nairobi slums provide fertile ground for al-Shabab.
join our mailing list