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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