Vietnam grants amnesty to prisoners

http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20070030375&ch=10/23/2007%202:34:00%20PM

Vietnam will release more than 8,000 prisoners as part of a regular presidential amnesty, officials said on Tuesday.

Those to be released include 13 foreigners convicted of various crimes, including drug trafficking, human trafficking and fraud.

Among them were eight Chinese citizens, two Singaporeans, one Laotian, one Malaysian and one Cambodian.

President Nguyen Minh Triet also granted amnesty to 11 unidentified Vietnamese citizens convicted of unspecified national security crimes.

In all, Triet approved the release of 8,066 inmates, said Giang Son, deputy head of the President’s Office.

They will be freed over the next two days.

”Vietnam’s policy toward criminals is a combination of severe punishment and leniency,” he said. ”The purpose of sentences is not only to punish criminals, but also to reform them to become useful citizens.”

Some 80,000 inmates have been released early under presidential amnesties since 2000, and 4.2 percent of them committed more crimes, said Vice Minister of Public Security Le The Tiem.

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Vietnam ready to have religious dialogue with U.S.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2007-10/24/content_6934515.htm HANOI, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) — Vietnam is ready to have dialogues on religious differences with the United States, local newspaper Vietnam News on Wednesday quoted Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung as saying.

    The Vietnamese government is always willing to listen and enter into dialogues with the United States on the difference, Dung said while meeting with a delegation of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom on Tuesday.

    As a UN member, Vietnam understands UN declarations on human rights. However, the issue should be based on the State Constitution and law that reflect the people’s aspirations, he said.

    Any Vietnamese citizen who violates law of the Vietnamese State will have to be treated in line with law, regardless of religious or ethnic identities, Dung emphasized.

    Dung has also pledged to create most favorable conditions for the U.S. religion watchdog delegation during their working visit in Vietnam. However, the delegation should conduct their study and have opinions about religion in Vietnam in an objective way, reflecting the truth and avoiding imposing lopsided viewpoints about religious freedom in the country.

    There are differences in concepts of culture, lifestyle, religious freedom, and legal system between Vietnam and the United States, because each nation has its own history and cultural tradition, he said.

    As for bilateral ties, Dung said the Vietnamese government always pursues a policy of looking towards to the future for the interest of the two nations. The government and people of Vietnam want and will do their utmost to further promote the bilateral relations in all fields.