Vietnam has released two more high-profile dissidents as it negotiates a free-trade deal with Washington that may not be approved unless Hanoi improves its human rights record.
Vi Duc Hoi and Nguyen Tien Trung were released over the weekend with 11/2 years and nine months of their sentences left to serve, respectively.
They were each convicted of crimes related to their peaceful advocacy for multiparty democracy in Vietnam, which is ruled by an authoritarian government that does not allow freedom of expression or political assembly.
“It was due to international pressure that the government of Vietnam had to release me,” Hoi, a former member of the ruling Communist Party, told Radio Free Asia, a US government-funded media network. “I lost some weight but I am still OK physically and mentally,” he said.
WASHINGTON — A prominent Vietnamese dissident whose father was an associate of the nation’s founding president Ho Chi Minh arrived in the U.S. Monday after being released from prison by Vietnam, the State Department said.
Cu Huy Ha Vu arrived on a flight to Washington with his wife. He is a legal scholar and among the ruling Communist Party’s highest-profile critics.
In a one-day trial, Vu was sentenced in April 2011 to seven years in prison and three years of house arrest on charges that included conducting propaganda against the state, calling for multiparty government and demanding the abolishment of the party’s leadership.
“The United States welcomes the decision by Vietnamese authorities to release prisoner of conscience Dr. Cu Huy Ha Vu,” Aaron Jensen, a spokesman for the State Department’s bureau of democracy, human rights and labor, told The Associated Press.
HANOI — One of Vietnam’s best known dissidents, a rights lawyer and son of a revolutionary poet, has been released early from prison. Afterwards, he traveled to the United States.
Lawyer Cu Huy Ha Vu, 56, is one of Vietnam’s most famous dissidents. He had served three years of a seven-year prison sentence before he was suddenly released.
A spokesman from the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi said Vu and his wife arrived in Washington, D.C. on Monday.
Although the timing and details of his release were not immediately clear, Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch Asia division, said Vu’s family had been negotiating for his freedom for some time.
HANOI, Vietnam — Vietnam has granted early release to two high-profile dissidents, bringing the number of democracy activists freed this month to three in what the government Monday called a “policy of leniency.”
The unusual moves come as Hanoi is negotiating a free trade deal with the United States that is expected to help Vietnam’s stumbling economy.
American officials have said the deal might not get congressional approval unless Vietnam’s government shows it is taking steps to improve its human rights record.
Vi Duc Hoi and Nguyen Tien Trung were released over the weekend with 1½ years and nine months remaining of their sentences respectively.
They were convicted of crimes relating to their peaceful advocacy of multiparty democracy in Vietnam, ruled by an authoritarian government that doesn’t allow freedom of expression or political assembly.