The US House of Representatives is demanding that Vietnam improve the way it treats its people and free all political prisoners, particularly a Roman Catholic priest and two human rights lawyers facing long prison sentences.
The dissident priest, the Rev. Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly, and lawyers Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thi Cong Nhan are in jail on various charges involving alleged anti-government activities. Nguyen Van Ly was sentenced at the end of March to eight years in prison.
A resolution, proposed by Republican Rep. Chris Smith and passed Wednesday, says the United States should "make a top concern the immediate release, legal status and humanitarian needs" of the three.