Current Status: Released - at risk
Other Names: Will Nguyen
Date of Birth:
Areas of Activism:
- Freedom of expression
William Nguyen has spoken out more about his ordeal of being arrested, detained, and deported from Vietnam. Read the English translation of his BBC interview, here. When asked, What would you like to tell a representative of the Vietnamese government if you sit in front of them right now?, he said: "I am not your enemy. I wasn’t when I was participating in the protests, and I’m not now. But the country urgently needs the contributions of all Vietnamese—native and overseas— and that will be impossible without national reconciliation and political reform. In these two goals, I am willing to help in any way I can.”
Details - Background, Support the Family.
Above: American Will Nguyen, Source: ABC News/family photo
Will Nguyen is an American graduate student of Vietnamese descent. He was born in Houston, TX. He was studying in Singapore at the time of his arrest at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. He graduated with a degree from Yale University in the US.
The 88 Project's archives
US citizen William Nguyen detained in Vietnam for nearly two weeks, Think Progress, June 21, 2018
After Pompeo visit, Vietnam to put American beaten and held on trial, ABC News, July 12, 2018
American Arrested at Protest in Vietnam Is to Be Deported, The New York Times, July 20, 2018
Will Nguyen returns to Houston after release from jail in Vietnam, Houston Chronicle, August 3, 2018
US citizen arrested in Vietnam: 'I argue to this day that I have done nothing wrong,' Southeast Asia Globe, August 17, 2018
Arrest 1 - Arrested June 10, 2018. Released July 20, 2018.
- Art. 318 (2015 Code)
Will was arrested in Ho Chi Minh City on June 10 after taking part in a protest and was shown to be bleeding from his head while being detained. Nationwide protests ocurred in Vietnam in June 2018 over draft laws on special economic zones and on cybersecurity. Authorities allege he incited protesters. He was charged for "disturbing public order," which carries a maximum of seven years in prison.
His confession was broadcast on state media, but many questioned its validity, given Vietnam’s previous use of coerced confessions.
Above: American Will Nguyen, Source: Reuters
Nguyen was tried on July 20 and ordered to be immediately deported from Vietnam. Even though he was convicted, the court in Ho Chi Minh City made its decision to deport Will based on him having expressed remorse and his status as a foreigner; he could have been sentenced to up to seven years in prison. His family reported that he later arrived safely in Singapore.
In an interview with Radio Free Asia, Will Nguyen revealed that his confession shown on TV by state media was filmed under the demand of the police. They staged a scene for the confession, and the final confession shown was his fourth or fifth take. He had to act many times until the authorities found it persuasive.
A consular officer visited him in detention twice in June 2018 and reported he was in good health. A third visit reportedly occurred on July 13, and Will was still in good health.
Though US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo allegedly raised his case during his visit to Vietnam, Will's family and many supporters say the US had not done enough to ensure his release.
Profile last updated: 2018-11-26 02:52:38