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Vietnamese Am held prisoner in Vietnam for 2 years freed

A Vietnamese American man sentenced to 12 years in prison on accusations of attempting to overthrow the Vietnamese government is back home in Orange County after being held for two years in Vietnam.

The family of Michael Nguyen has long believed the Vietnamese coerced him to confess to the crime. With the help of politicians and the community, they have been lobbying for his release ever since.

Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA) announced Monday Nguyen returned home late last week to the surprise of his family. Details of how or why the Vietnamese released him have not been made public.

“We are extremely grateful for the many members of Congress, the state department, embassy and consulate staff who worked tirelessly over the past 27 months in behalf of Michael, to reunite him with his family,” Nguyen’s family said in a statement to CBS LA.

The State Department cited “private diplomatic conversations” when asked by the OC Register about Nguyen’s release, but declined to discuss it any further.

The family has spent a few quiet days at home since he returned home. The devout Catholic family also attended church.

“He looks fabulous,” said Mark Roberts, his brother-in-law, to the Register. “It’s so hard to believe.”

Helen Nguyen testifies before Congress pleading for help in winning the release of her husband from a prison in Vietnam
Helen Nguyen testifies before Congress pleading for help in winning the release of her husband from a prison in Vietnam

His wife Helen lead the family’s efforts on behalf of her husband, winning the help of the community and many politicians.

“Michael and the whole Nguyen family have shown incredible strength and perseverance,” Rep Porter said in a statement. She described his trip home as ” a long-awaited reunion for an Orange County dad and his family.”

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