More than 2,400 people to be pardoned on Vietnam’s National Day

There are no political prisoners among those to be released.
By RFA Vietnamese
More than 2,400 people to be pardoned on Vietnam’s National Day Police stand guard while inmates clap during a ceremony announcing the President's amnesty at a prison on the outskirts of Hanoi on August 31, 2015.

Vietnam is granting amnesty to 2,434 prisoners this year, state media said, quoting Pham Thanh Ha, Vice Chairman of the President's Office, who spoke at a news conference in Hanoi.

The president, currently Nguyen Xuan Phuc, grants amnesty to prisoners every year on September 2, which marks the National Day of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

In Wednesday’s news conference Ha also announced amnesty for three people whose prison sentences have been temporarily suspended and one person whose prison sentence was permanently suspended.

Ha said there were fewer amnesties granted this year than last year’s 3,026 because of stricter regulations on conditions for special amnesty and cases where an amnesty had not been requested.

Major General Nguyen Van Long, a representative of the Ministry of Public Security, added that eight people were granted amnesty among prisoners whose cases had been monitored by the Central Steering Committee on Anti-Corruption.

A representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Minister Ha Kim Ngoc, announced that 16 foreign nationals were included in the amnesty list. Around 750 foreigners are believed to be serving prison sentences in Vietnam.

The President will also commute the death penalty to life imprisonment for 10 death row inmates, including two foreigners.

However, the announcement of Friday’s National Day pardons made it clear that those convicted of "conducting propaganda against the State" or subversion are not eligible for amnesty.

Last month several Vietnamese activists who had received prison sentences for anti-State propaganda had their appeals rejected.

They include award-winning Vietnamese journalist Pham Doan Trang, Le Van Dung, Trinh Ba Phuong and Nguyen Thi Tam.

Their lawyers failed to sway the appeal court with arguments that “conducting anti-state propaganda” contradicts the right to freedom of expression included in Vietnam’s Constitution.


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