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Vietnam Releases Pro-Democracy Lawyer Ahead of President's Visit to US


Vietnam has released a detained pro-democracy lawyer, just days before the Vietnamese president is to visit the United Sates.

Vietnamese officials released Le Quoc Quan Saturday. He was detained in March after returning from a five-month fellowship in the United States.

His detention has been part of a wider crackdown by Vietnamese authorities on democracy activists that has drawn criticism from U.S. authorities. President George Bush has said he plans to bring up the crackdown when he meets in Washington with Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet on June 22.

Last week, President Triet granted amnesty to another prominent dissident - journalist Nguyen Vu Binh - who was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2003 on charges of spying.

President Triet's visit to the United States will be the first by a Vietnamese head of state since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.

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