Other dissidents, US asks Vietnam after "Mother Mushroom" was released
The US government seeks to release more political prisoners in Vietnam after local authorities released "Mother Mushroom," a prominent dissident, following Defense Minister Jim Mattis' visit this week.
Nguyen Ngoc Nhuy Nhu Quynh, a 39-year-old blogger best known as Mother Pilz for her daughter's nickname, was released early Wednesday and later arrived the same day with her mother and children in the US, the US said. Embassy. Embassy spokeswoman Karen Tang said that Ms. Quynh and her family made clear in previous talks with American officials that she would go to the US if she were released.
Washington has made a great effort to free Ms. Quynh. She was arguably the most prominent government critic incarcerated in recent years, and was known in Vietnam for her campaigns on human rights and environmental issues, notably toxic waste that destroyed sea life on a major stretch of coastline in 201
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In 2016, people in Hanoi protested about mass fishing deaths in the central province of Vietnam. They are holding a large banner reading "Who poisoned the coast of Vietnam?"
luong thai linh / agency for European press photography
She was arrested in October 2016 and subsequently sentenced to 10 years in prison for slandering the Communist government of Vietnam. At one point, Ms. Quynh's 11-year-old daughter wrote to First Lady Melania Trump to secure her mother's release prior to President Trump's visit to Vietnam for a business summit last year.
It is unclear whether Ms. Quynh is released was linked to Mr. Mattis' visit, during which he visited a site contaminated by Agent Orange Dioxin during the Vietnam War. As of next year, the US will fund a cleanup operation aimed at improving relations between the two war opponents and counteracting China's growing influence in the region.
U.S. Officials are now calling on the Vietnamese government to release more political prisoners. He wants the country to "allow all Vietnamese citizens to express their views without fear of retaliation," said Ms. Tang.
Vietnamese officials did not respond to appeals for an opinion on Ms. Quynh's release.
Vietnam launched one In 2016, the dissidents were resolutely persecuted, partly due to the authorities' concern over the way
(19659009) More than 100 political prisoners remain in Vietnamese prisons, often under miserable conditions, according to Amnesty International.
This number rose on Wednesday, when another activist was sentenced to seven years in prison after a one-day test. The prosecutors accused 27-year-old Nguyen Dinh Thanh of spreading propaganda against the state by distributing leaflets calling on workers to protest against proposals to sell land to foreign companies.
Write to James Hookway to James .hookway @ wsj.com