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Vietnam: prelate analyzes, downplays government amnesty

Catholic World News - August 30, 2011

The Vietnamese government’s decision to release 10,000 prisoners on the nation’s independence day will principally affect common criminals and not human rights advocates, according to the chairman of the episcopal conference’s justice and peace commission.

“The amnesty is a measure that is repeated every year and is often for prisoners held for crimes regarding security and not for people who are in prison for reasons of conscience,” said Bishop Paul Nguyen Thai Hop of Vinh. “What people are asking us to remember, on this occasion, are those who are imprisoned for political and conscience reasons, people who struggle for freedom, rights, justice, democracy. It is, however, good news that some members of ethnic minorities of the central highlands are released.”

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