Thursday, November 02, 2006

US citizens charged with terrorism - SEVEN people, including three Vietnamese-born US citizens, will be prosecuted on charges of plotting violence against Vietnam's communist government, officials said today.

The prosecutor included charges against a US citizen whose 13-month-long detention has drawn attention in the US before President George W. Bush's visit to Vietnam November 17-20.

US Senator Bill Martinez of Florida has linked the detention of Orlando, Florida resident Nguyen Thuong Cuc (alias Foshee Thuong Nguyen) to passage of a Bill granting Vietnam permanent normal trade relations status. Martinez has said she should be charged or released.

Washington and Hanoi signed a new trade deal on May 31 that helped Vietnam toward next week's expected accession to the World Trade Organisation. Vietnam is the fastest-growing market for US goods in Asia and the two countries have built a friendship mainly through business ties since restoring diplomatic relations in 1995, 20 years after the end of the US war in Vietnam.

Prosecutors had "asked the Ho Chi Minh City People's Court to bring to court seven defendants involved in a terrorism case" a statement carried by the official Vietnam News Agency said.

Three of those charged, including Foshee, are US citizens, US officials said. A fourth was listed as having a US address and the remaining three were Vietnamese living in Vietnam.

The statement linked the seven to a Vietnamese-born resident of the US, Nguyen Huu Chanh, who was suspected of plotting to bomb Vietnam embassies in recent years.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Dung said in a separate statement that Foshee, 58, was held "for allegedly being involved in terrorist activities, but has not been brought to trial".

Mr Chanh, the accused ringleader, was detained in South Korea in the past year following a request by Vietnam to arrest and extradite him. Mr Chanh is a member of a US-based group called "Government of Free Vietnam" but he has not yet been extradited.

The Government statement said that "in order to carry out the plot, Nguyen Huu Chanh and his accomplices stopped at nothing, including terrorist bombing and using radio broadcasts to call for an uprising and then to stir unrest and upset the lives of cadres, public employees and ordinary people".