ucanews.com reporter, Ho Chi Minh CityUpdated: October 31, 2017 09:53 AM GMT
Nguyen Bao Nguyen (right) and her brother pose with their mother, Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, in this file image (Photo by Tin Mung Cho Nguoi Ngheo). Bottom left image of Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh standing trial for anti-state propaganda at a courthouse in the central city of Nha Trang on June 29 (Photo by AFP). Bottom right is U.S. First Lady Melania Trump at the White House on Sept. 28. (Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP)
The 11-year-old daughter of an imprisoned Catholic activist in Vietnam has appealed to U.S. First Lady Melania Trump to help her mother to be reunited with her family, ahead of President Donald Trump's visit to Vietnam for the APEC summit next week.
"Please help my family to be reunited because I know my mother did nothing wrong," Nguyen Bao Nguyen, nicknamed "Nam" or "Mushroom," said in her handwritten letter sent to the first lady.
Nguyen is the eldest daughter of 37-year-old Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, a prominent blogger known as "Me Nam" or "Mother Mushroom," who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in June for publishing anti-government writings and fighting for prisoners of conscience.
Nguyen said her brother and she have not had their mother for the second time on their birth anniversaries since their mother was arrested in October, 2016. Nguyen turned 11 on Oct. 28.
"We love our mum very much and just want her to return to us," she said in the letter posted on Oct. 26 on her grandmother's Facebook page.
Nguyen expressed her gratitude to the first lady for having awarded the International Women of Courage Award to her mother in absentia in March.
Nguyen also referred to U.S. President Donald Trump's approaching official visit to Vietnam where he is set to attend the APEC forum in the coastal city of Danang, central Vietnam.
"This is the fourth letter I have written to you to ask you for my family reunion," the girl told Melania Trump. She said she wondered if the first lady received her letters or not. "My grandmother told me that 'We should just hope,'" she added.
"I trust you implicitly. Please help my mother to come back to us," Nguyen concluded in her letter.
Nguyen's grandmother Nguyen Tuyet Lan told ucanews.com that some people volunteered to translate the letter into English and to send it to the first lady. "So far we have not received any reply from Melania. We just hope she gets it and does something useful for my granddaughter," she said.
Lan has met her daughter in the prison five times since she was arrested. She said she visited Quynh in her camp on Oct. 23. Their talk was closely watched by prison guards.
Lan said on Facebook that Quynh is thin and pale, and suffers insomnia and cramps in her legs. Quynh also asked her to send her clothes and blankets.
She said prison officials refused to allow Quynh to receive medicine and copies of Bible and hymns.
Lan said she encouraged Quynh to "pray to God to keep your honor and life intact."