The representatives said they were troubled to learn that "Vietnamese state media has labeled Dr. Quan as a 'terrorist' for the crime of training grass-roots activists in nonviolent advocacy, and are deeply concerned by reports that Dr. Quan is being charged with 'subversion against the state,' an offense for which punishment ranges from 12 years in prison to death."
The lawmakers added, "Dr. Quan's arrest is not an isolated event, but a symptom of the Vietnamese government's ongoing crackdown on dissent."
Human rights officials in Germany and France, along with the European Union's ambassador to Vietnam, Franz Jessen, have called on Vietnam to stop sentencing bloggers and human rights advocates to prison for exercising freedom of expression.
Trinh Nguyen said Nguyen's trial may have been postponed because the general secretary of the Vietnamese Communist Party, Nguyen Phu Trong, is scheduled to meet with European Union officials this week and perhaps doesn't want to call attention to the case now.
When the trial is held, it will probably be over in one day, Trinh Nguyen said. "It's verdict and sentencing all at once. Their evidence is essentially materials that he has and he's a trainer and he's been active," she said. "There's almost no degree of burden or proof; his defense attorney has to prove he's innocent within the very narrow confines of the law.
"We're concerned because of the trend of the severity of the sentences over the last six months; one activist received up to 13 years on similar charges," Trinh Nguyen said. "The Vietnamese government is not fooling around."
In a 2008 interview with The Bee, Nguyen expressed his love for the activists in Vietnam.
"Those are the true heroes," he said. "I just follow them in my way. I hope all the Vietnamese overseas who supported me will pay attention to those willing to suffer because they'd love to have a country with freedom."