Tran Van Ba
         Tran Van Ba belongs to an illustrious pedigree of southern Vietnamese nationalists. His great uncle Bui Quang Chieu-the founder of the Saigon Constitutionalist Party-was assassinated along with his four sons and a daughter in 1945 by the communists. His father Tran Van Van, a member of the South Vietnamese National Assembly, was also assassinated in 1966. Smuggled to France one month after his father's death, Ba became President of the Vietnamese Students Association from 1972 to 1980 and denounced Hanoi's "summary executions, military expansionism to Cambodia and Laos, and inducing the exodus of the boat people."


         He returned to Vietnam in 1980 to continue the fight for freedom and democracy in his own homeland. He was jailed in 1984 and executed on false charges of treason in January 1985 despite international protests-including those of France President Valery Giscard d' Estaign, Simone Veil and Laurent Fabius.

         The 2007 Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom was posthumously awarded to Mr. Ba at the embassy of Hungary in D.C. on November 15, 2007. A memorial has been erected to Mr. Ba in Liege, Belgium and a street dedicated to him in Falls Church, VA by the Vietnamese-American community.


         By returning to Vietnam to fight communism, Ba was aware he could be taken prisoner, jailed and possibly executed. He went ahead anyway.