HANOI, Vietnam – An American political officer at the embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam, was attacked by police on Wednesday, according to the US Embassy in an AP report. Christian Marchant, the American diplomat, was trying to visit with a prominent Vietnamese dissident. Marchant was also attempting to visit with Father Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly, a Catholic priest.
Citing Ly as a source, Marchant was seen being wrestled to the ground by authorities outside Ly’s house and later put into a police car and driven away. Marchant’s work on human rights was recently recognized by an award from the State Department.
“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,” said US Embassy spokesman Beau Miller. The US Embassy did not release specific details about the incident, but confirmed that a diplomat was roughed up in the central city of Hue.
Ly, 63, one of Vietnam’s best-known dissidents, was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2007 for trying to undermine Vietnam’s Communist government. He is now under house arrest after being released last year on medical parole.