SACRAMENTO – American activist Dr. Nguyen Quoc Quan has been released after 9 months of detention in Ho Chi Minh City by the Vietnamese government.
Vietnamese authorities claimed the California software engineer and former teacher was engaged in terrorist activities due to his association with Viet Tan, a pro-democracy group that works “inside Vietnam and among the diaspora … to mobilize the power of the people.”
The Vietnamese government has for years had a contentious relationship with Viet Tan, of which Quan is a long-standing member.
The 58-year-old activist arrived in his home state of California on Wednesday evening to an exuberant crowd of family and friends, soon after his wife received the surprising news that the Vietnamese government would allow him to walk free.
“I received a phone call from the consulate, and [the staffer] told me ‘You better sit down,”’ Quan’s wife, Mai Huong Ngo, told GlobalPost.
Ngo dutifully sat down, but became worried: Was her husband sick, she wondered?
He wasn’t. Instead, the consular staffer told Ngo that her husband was returning to the home they shared in the Northern California city of Elk Grove.
“I kept crying, I cannot speak, I keep crying … and [the staffer] asked me, ‘You are happy, right?”’ said Ngo.