Profile

Michael Nguyen

Current Status: Pre-trial detention

Photo of Michael Nguyen

Other Names: Michael Phuong Minh Nguyen

Date of Birth: 1964

Gender: M

Religion: Christian (Catholic)

Ethnicity: Kinh

Occupation: Entrepreneur

Current Prison: HCM city Police detention center, No. 4 Phan Dang Luu, Ho Chi Minh city

February 2019:

It is possible that authorities will soon hold a trial against US citizen Michael Nguyen and two others arrested at the same time, Huynh Duc Thanh Binh and Tran Long Phi. An investigator reportedly told Phi's relatives to expect an upcoming trial, as they have completed their investigation.

Detained US citizen Michael Nguyen's wife, Helen Nguyen, attended the US's State of the Union address, invited by Rep. Katie Porter of California. She was also able to meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Eliot Engel of New York and was optimistic that her advocacy for her husband's freedom will travel with US President Trump when he visits Vietnam in late February. Michael Nguyen is still being held without formal charges, but he is under investigation for subversion under Article 109 of Vietnam's 2015 Criminal Code. Ms. Nguyen reported that contact with her husband has been severely restricted, with a US consular official only allowed to visit him for short periods once every month. Neither the family, nor lawyers, have been permitted access. Per the most recent consular visit on January 30, Mr. Nguyen is doing well overall in prison, with only minor health issues. His family maintains he has not participated in any activism activities and Mrs. Nguyen said that he had visited Vietnam without issues for many years prior to his arrest. 

Details - Background, History of Activism, Family Situation.

Michael Nguyen is a US citizen of Vietnamese descent. He was living in California with his family before his arrest. He owns a printing business.

His family has maintained that he is not involved in any activism efforts.

Nguyen is married and has four young daughters.

Arrested July 7, 2018. Charged under Art. 109 (2015 Code), Art. 304 (1999 Code).

July 7, 2018
  • Art. 109 (2015 Code)
  • Art. 304 (1999 Code)
Ho Chi Minh city public security, Ho Chi Minh city
Dong Nai Province (map)
unknown
  • freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
  • liberty and security of the person

Michael Nguyen and family, Source: Mark Roberts via Los Angeles Times

August 2018:

Michael Nguyen was still being detained in Vietnam. His family has not been able to speak with him. Several US lawmakers were organizing efforts to press for his release. Mr. Nguyen still had not been officially charged and could be held for several months without charges.

The US Embassy confirmed in early August that US citizen Michael Phuong Minh Nguyen was detained in Vietnam after travelling there for a vacation and to visit family. He was detained on July 7 in Dong Nai Province while travelling by bus from Da Nang to Saigon, and the circumstances around the detention are unclear. He is being held in Ho Chi Minh City without charges but allegedly under investigation for “activity against the peoples’ government.” Michael will now face several months of an initial investigation period, which is eligible for extension, and which will prohibit him from receiving communications and visits; though, he is supposed to be allowed one visit from US consular representatives per month. Read the family’s press release on the situation, here. He was allegedly detained with several others, though this is unconfirmed by other news sources.

October 2018:

Undercover police agents attacked a relative of Michael Nguyen. The attack occurred on September 6 after the relative visited Nguyen in the detention facility. Upon leaving, she was followed by motorbikes, kicked, and forced off of her bike. The woman's leg was broken. She was so rattled by the incident that she kept it secret for nearly a month.

November 2018:

Even four months after US citizen Michael Nguyen was detained in Vietnam; still, no formal charges are announced against him. He has not been permitted visits form lawyers nor family. Little information has been available about his case; even US Representative Mimi Walters has not been able to obtain information about his status.

January 2019:

Authorities reportedly ramped up their investigation against detained US citizen Michael Nguyen, who is being held on charges of subversion. Activist Le My Hanh was summoned for police questioning in relation to Nguyen's case. Hanh and Nguyen met during Nguyen's trip to Vietnam in the summer of 2018, shortly before his arrest. 

Several members of the US Congress have advocated for Michael’s release, including Congresswoman Mimi Walters (R-CA).

Supporters have called for Nguyen’s release in a petition on Change.org.  “For any government to incarcerate anyone without any probable cause is a blatant violation of human rights and of international law, especially if the detained is a citizen of another country,” says the petition, which hopes to raise enough signatures to be sent to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

February 2019:

Three US Members of Congress urged President Trump to raise human rights with Vietnamese leaders when he met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a summit in Hanoi. Reps. Zoe Lofgren, Chris Smith, and Alan Lowenthal signed the letter, dated February 19, and in it lamented that Vietnam was chosen to host the summit despite its dismal human rights record. They encouraged Trump to highlight the case of Michael Nguyen, a US citizen detained in Vietnam since July 2018.

While in Vietnam, Trump, however did not openly mention the case of Nguyen.

Profile last updated: 2019-03-04 03:12:18

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