RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Leon Truong spoke at a dinner party last night at Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant. Truong was arrested by the Vietnamese government and held for 24 days last year after preparing leaflets promoting democratic change by the pro-democracy group Viet Tan.
Isle Vietnamese rally for activists
A Hawaii man was released after being arrested in Vietnam
Hundreds from the Vietnamese community rallied together yesterday in support of a Hawaii man released from a Vietnamese prison and to support another American citizen still imprisoned.
Leon Truong, who was released last month after 24 days in a Vietnamese prison, helped organize yesterday's dinner at a Chinatown restaurant along with pro-democracy group Viet Tan.
Speaking through his daughter, he thanked the community for its support and said he was overwhelmed by the media attention he has gotten from around the world after his release.
Truong, a U.S. citizen, was arrested at a house in Ho Chi Minh City on Nov. 17 along with five others while they were preparing pamphlets for Viet Tan, which Vietnam considers a terrorist group.
Viet Tan says it promotes nonviolent political change in Vietnam.
Truong said yesterday that his main goal is the release of everyone who was arrested with him on Nov. 17.
"He's really unhappy because all his friends are still detained," said Lauren Truong, his daughter.
Truong has said he was questioned daily while in prison, and the relentless questioning "terrorized" him psychologically.
Although he was never formally charged, the Vietnamese media reported he was being investigated for terrorism.
A day after his release, the Vietnamese government also freed a French journalist who was arrested with Truong.
Remaining in prison are a Thai, two Vietnamese and Nguyen Quoc Quan, a U.S. citizen and mathematician from Sacramento, Calif.
Vietnamese authorities say Nguyen entered the country on a forged Cambodian passport.
So far, the U.S. Consulate has been able to meet with Nguyen only once, said Lauren Truong, who has spoken with Nguyen's wife.
He is occupying himself by teaching a cellmate English and has a bruise on his back that worries his wife, Truong said. Nguyen's wife hopes the Vietnamese government will allow her to visit her husband.
Nguyen also has two teenage sons.
U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, who wrote a letter to the State Department pushing for Truong's release, also attended the dinner.
Stephanie Nguyen of Makiki brought her family, hoping that the local government would do more to support freedom in Vietnam.
"I just want the government here to know we are trying to make a change," she said. "They (Vietnamese citizens) don't want the regime."
The Associated Press contributed to this story.