Vietnam releases human rights lawyer from prison

AP News
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Posted: Mar 06, 2011 11:05 PM
Vietnam releases human rights lawyer from prison

A Vietnamese human rights lawyer has been freed from prison after serving a four-year sentence for advocating a multiparty system in Internet posts, an official said Monday.

Nguyen Van Dai, 42, was released Sunday from Nam Ha prison in northern Ha Nam province, said prison chief Duong Duc Thang. Dai still has to serve four years of house arrest.

In May 2007, Dai 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 his jail time from five to four years in November of that year.

A fellow lawyer who was convicted along with Dai, Le Thi Cong Nhan, was released a year ago after serving her three-year sentence.

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.

In an interview with U.S.-based Radio Free Asia on Sunday, Dai said he did not commit any crime and that what he did was for his "personal desire" and the "aspiration for freedom and democracy" of Vietnamese people.