Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, October 26, 2007

More than 8,000 prisoners granted amnesty in Viet Nam

The office of Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet announced Tuesday that more than 8,000 prisoners would be released as part of an annual government amnesty, digitaljournal.com reported the same day.

Eleven of the prisoners to be released were jailed for violating national security laws, many of them in the Central Highlands, where large anti-government protests have occurred in the past few years. Human rights groups have long believed that the government arrested ethnic minorities in the region after the protests. In addition, a Western diplomat in Hanoi said that five of the prisoners receiving government amnesty are on the European Union’s list of “prisoner’s of concern” for human rights issues and political persecution.

In order to receive amnesty from the Vietnamese government, prisoners must demonstrate good behavior, serve at least one third of their sentences, and commit to not breaking the law in the future.

“The amnesty decision reaffirms the clemency policy of the party and the state and the humanitarian tradition of Vietnamese people,” said Giang Son, deputy chief of the Office of the State President.

Officials said that the majority of the released prisoners are petty criminals or involved in economic crimes. Murderers and sex offenders are ineligible to receive amnesty.

For the full article, click here.



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