His Excellency Nguyễn Minh Triết
President, Socialist Republic of Vietnam
c/o Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
1233 20th Street, NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036
We are the Chairs of, respectively, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), and the International Republican Institute (IRI), three organizations based in Washington, D.C., whose directors include prominent businessmen, current and former members of Congress, independent scholars, and other distinguished Americans.
We are shocked and outraged to learn of the March 8 arrest of lawyer Lê Quốc Quân very shortly after his return to Vietnam, following completion of a five-month fellowship in residence at NED. The fellowship is part of an exchange visitor program funded by the U.S. Congress through a grant from the Department of State that has brought outstanding scholars and practitioners from over 50 countries since its inception six years ago.
During his fellowship at NED, Lê Quốc Quân pursued independent research on civil society. Quân impressed all who met him with his integrity, passion for assisting the poor, and commitment to assisting Vietnam’s growth and development. Throughout his fellowship, Quân was an outstanding representative of Vietnam and its people, winning many friends and bringing great credit to his country. The National Endowment for Democracy is honored to have hosted him.
We cannot emphasise strongly enough our deep concern over Quân’s arrest and the dark cloud that his continued detention casts over the image of Vietnam and the prospects for improved ties between our countries. We call upon you to make necessary arrangements for his swift release.
We look forward to receiving a prompt response to this letter.