Vietnam human rights lawyer freed after 3 years in prison for calling for multiparty system

Monday, March 8, 2010

Vietnam releases human rights lawyer from prison

HANOI, Vietnam — A Vietnamese human rights lawyer has been released from prison after serving a three-year sentence for advocating for a multiparty government in Internet posts.

Le Thi Cong Nhan was released Saturday from Prison Number 5 in northern Thanh Hoa province and was escorted by police to her home in Hanoi, said prison chief Luong Van Tuyen. Nhan, 30, still has to serve three years of house arrest.

In May 2007, Nhan was sentenced by a Hanoi court for violating Article 88 of Vietnam’s penal code, which broadly prohibits spreading propaganda against the state.

An appeals court reduced her jail time from four to three years in November of that year.

A fellow lawyer who was convicted along with Nhan, Nguyen Van Dai, was sentenced to five years in prison. His sentence was reduced by one year. His release from prison is not expected for another year.

The two were accused of using the Internet to call for a multiparty state in Vietnam, where the ruling Communist Party does not tolerate dissent. They also gave interviews to foreign news agencies.

International human rights groups and western governments have often criticized Vietnam’s poor human rights record.

Over the past four months, Vietnam has jailed 16 pro-democracy activists.

Among them was attorney Le Cong Dinh, who represented Nhan and made an impassioned defense of free expression during her trial. Authorities sent Dinh to prison in January after convicting him of subversion charges unrelated to Nhan’s case.

Filed under: Crime

Tags: , , ,
will not be displayed