Vietnam frees dying political prisoner

(VNRN) – A Vietnamese political prisoner on his last days battling cancer, Dinh Dang Dinh (Đinh Đăng Định), was granted amnesty on March 21, in a move rarely seen in this communist country.

The amnesty came one month after his sentence was suspended so that Dinh, 50, a former chemistry teacher, could pursue medical treatment at home. When his sentence was suspended and he was allowed to leave prison, Dinh told Voice of America that he had committed no crime, that his only offense was “opposing dictatorship, opposing radical commnunism,” and that his release was “not humanitarian.”

This time, after the amnesty order signed by State President Truong Tan Sang was read to him at home, Dinh told VOA that the order was “meaningless, as I have no more force left.”

“If you care, please focus on the common goal, and that is the fight against the dictatorship of the communist regime,” Dinh said. “As for me personally, there’s nothing left to pay attention to.”

Dinh added that if he had had any chance of surviving, he would not have received amnesty. “There’s nothing humanitarian or merciful about this,” he said.

Dinh was sentenced in August 2012 to six years in prison for allegedly “conducting propaganda against the socialist republic” in violation of Article 88.

In late 2013, a group of U.S. and European ambassadors wrote to the Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs, calling on Vietnam to release Dinh on humanitarian grounds “so he can spend his remaining time at home or if necessarily in a hospital.”

Dinh was arrested in 2012 for posting online articles advocating political pluralism and criticizing the government’s bauxite mining project in the Central Highlands.

The bauxite mine, said by many to be Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung‘s pet project, has been widely criticized for potential large-scale disaster to the country’s environment and national security. One of the late General Vo Nguyen Giap‘s public actions had been to call for halting the project, to no avail.

Article 88, under which Dinh and many other political prisoners were convicted, is onen

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