News / Asia

Vietnam Shows No Sign of Releasing Political Prisoners

FILE - Prominent blogger Dieu Cay remains in jail in Vietnam.
FILE - Prominent blogger Dieu Cay remains in jail in Vietnam.
VOA News

Authorities in Vietnam have shown no signs they plan to release any political prisoners during the country's annual amnesty marking the nation’s independence day. 

Several political and non-political prisoners are traditionally pardoned on or around September 2. But unlike previous years, Vietnamese state media has yet to announce the official number of detainees set to be released nationwide this year.

Political prisoners typically make up a small percentage of those who receive amnesty. The majority are Vietnamese who were jailed for ordinary criminal offenses like theft. 

Many activists had hoped prominent blogger Dieu Cay would be freed amid Vietnam’s efforts to join the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and its desire to be removed from the United States' lethal arms embargo list.

Vietnam is regularly criticized by human rights groups and Western governments for its suppression of political dissent and treatment of religious groups.

Dieu Cay's wife, Duong Thi Tan, told VOA's Vietnamese service that during a short monthly phone call last week, the blogger told his son that he'd dismissed authorities’ request that he write a petition seeking a pardon.

"He rejected the request to write the petition for pardon because he did not violate laws," she said. "He said he was innocent so he did not ask for pardon. He said if he had to write, he would write a letter requesting to be released since he did not commit any wrongdoings."

Doan Viet Hoat, Vietnam’s best-known dissident who was released in the 1998 amnesty, shared his own experiences and denounced Hanoi for using "tricks" to force political prisoners to "admit wrongdoings for pardon."

"Since [my release], the Vietnamese government continues to use prisoners of conscience for trading in international relations," he said. "We totally protest the way Hanoi considers political prisoners as hostages to exchange for their own benefits.”

The U.S. government has called on Vietnam to improve its human rights record as the two sides discuss Vietnam's efforts to join the TPP. Officials in Washington have said they are considering a move to lift the weapons ban on Hanoi. 

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Comment Sorting
by: hung dungsangtrong from: usa
September 05, 2014 12:29 AM
Vietnam communist is a bad prostitute. This prostitute can sleep with USA or Japan at some points during the day when needed, but she must get back to her bad, betrayed husband, the Chinese every single nights regardless- keep this in mind when dealing with the communist Vietnam

by: Tanny Lee from: USA
September 04, 2014 10:52 PM
Vietnam must release all of the Religion & political prisoners and deleted all rules and laws against human wright, as international requested years ago.
Vietnam does not have human wright, religion freedom, so it’s harder for qualifying any international group.
Not only release 1 prisoner for now and 1000 more prisoners are in line for future trading in international relations. We want long term, not short term.

by: Bob from: USA
September 04, 2014 9:28 AM
Now tell me again -- why is the U.S. trading again with Vietnam? I thought we didn't trade with countries which fail to observe human rights..... And yeah, I was in Vietnam in the 60's!

by: Tanny from: USA
September 04, 2014 3:46 AM
Vietnam needed to change its Ugly rules & Laws against human wright; Viet’s citizens will be forever in hell, Pham Binh Minh must reduce riff-off citizens and using prisoners for trading in international relations.
If the government is doing the wright act, Viet’s government surely have confident to compromise with citizens.
Volunteer a little each day; keep learning for improving the Country come first.
What China is doing to you? Do you accept? What are the results?

by: JUNKY from: USA
September 03, 2014 10:12 PM
Never trust Viet Cong.
In Response

by: Tranny from: USA
September 04, 2014 11:04 AM
Hey..hey...Never Trust Viet Cong was said first by former South Vietnam president Nguyen Van Thieu: Do not believe what VC said, pay attention to they did.

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