A Vietnamese dissident convicted in 2007 of spreading anti-state “propaganda” was released on Monday and said he planned to continue his political activities.
Lawyer Nguyen Bac Truyen was arrested in August 2006 with three other members of the People’s Democratic Party, one of the first arrests in a period of tightened political control over the past several years.
Mr. Truyen said he had been confined with some 40 other political prisoners under difficult conditions, but that he wanted to continue organising politically. “I will engage in politics in order to struggle for human rights, democracy and a multi—party political system,” Mr. Truyen said.
He said he did not know how he would earn a living now that his law licence has been stripped from him, and he remains under restricted movement for two years.
Mr. Truyen and the others, including US citizen Cong Thanh Do, were accused of plotting to bomb the US consulate in Ho Chi Minh City.
US congressional representatives called the charges “outrageous,” and the US government did not credit them. Mr. Do was expelled to the US in October 2006, while others were convicted in May 2007 on the more usual charge of spreading “propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.” Mr. Truyen was initially sentenced to four years in prison, but the term was reduced to three years on appeal.
Also on Monday, the wife of dissident Truong Minh Duc, a journalist imprisoned since May 2007, said her husband was being subjected to cruel treatment in prison. Mr. Duc was transferred in early April from the main K2 camp of Xuan Loc prison in Dong Nai province, where he had served with Mr. Truyen, to a different camp known as K4.
“They moved him to another prison in the jungle,” she said.
Mr. Duc and Mr. Truyen were members of Bloc 8406, a short—lived collection of activists and intellectuals who signed a manifesto in April 2006 calling for multi—party democracy. Dozens of signatories have been arrested and sent to prison since 2007.