Hanoi: A US diplomat in Vietnam was
injured during an incident this week that drew a strong
protest from Washington to Hanoi, a US official said on Friday.
The diplomat received "minor injuries", said the
official speaking on condition of anonymity. He did not give
A source with knowledge of the incident said it
occurred in the central city of Hue on Wednesday. Security
officials prevented the diplomat from entering a building to
visit Nguyen Van Ly, a dissident Catholic priest with whom he
had an appointment, the source said.
When the diplomat persisted, there was a "physical
confrontation" that led to his temporary detention, said the
source, who did not want to be named.
US ambassador Michael Michalak yesterday declined to
provide details of what happened but said the US "has lodged a
strong, official protest with the government of Vietnam
regarding the treatment of one of our diplomats."
Vietnam`s foreign ministry spokeswoman, Nguyen Phuong
Nga, said Vietnam "always creates favourable conditions" for
diplomats, but they must also respect the laws.
Human Rights Watch identified the US diplomat as
Christian Marchant -- a political officer at the Hanoi embassy
-- and said the "assault" against him provided more evidence
that "Vietnam`s police are out of control."
The incident comes before next week`s Congress of the
ruling Communist Party. The party is keen to maintain
stability before the five-yearly event that determines top