WASHINGTON, June 27, 2003--Vietnam's best-known dissident monk, Thich Quang Do, could be released from house arrest as early as next month, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports. Vietnamese authorities had previously suggested he would be freed in September.
The decision to expedite his release by several months came during a meeting in Ho Chi Minh City this week between Prime Minister Phan Van Khai and Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee Chairman Le Thanh Hai, according to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Do is leader of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam. He was sentenced to five years' in jail in August 1995 for organizing a flood relief mission in the southern Mekong Delta. He was released in a presidential amnesty in September 1998 but Ho Chi Minh City authorities reinstated two years of his sentence. He was placed under house arrest on June 1, 2001, after he publicly appealed for democracy in Vietnam.
The Foreign Ministry said earlier this year that Do's detention would expire on September 3, 2003.
RFA broadcasts news and information to Asian listeners who lack regular access to full and balanced reporting in their domestic media. Through its broadcasts and call-in programs, RFA aims to fill a critical gap in the lives of people across Asia.
Created by Congress in 1994 and incorporated in 1996, RFA currently broadcasts in Burmese, Cantonese, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Mandarin, the Wu dialect, Vietnamese, Tibetan (Uke, Amdo, and Kham), and Uyghur. It adheres to the highest standards of journalism and aims to exemplify accuracy, balance, and fairness in its editorial content. #####