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Vietnam to free 10,000 prisoners

Annual prisoner release ritual meant to display government compassion
Vietnam prisoner release 2011 08 29Enlarge
Vietnamese political dissident Le Nguyen Sang is led out a Ho Chi Minh City court after being sentenced to a five-year jail term in 2007. (HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images)

Vietnam is preparing to free 10,000 prisoners as part of a public ritual, timed to national holidays, that's intended to show the communist government's compassion.

According to AP, the batch of soon-to-be-freed inmates includes multiple U.S. citizens. They'll be set loose on Sept. 2, Vietnam's "National Day," which marks communist leader Ho Chi Minh's 1945 public declaration of Vietnam's freedom.

Scattered news reports suggest that mass prison releases have been common in the last decade.

Last year, the government freed a whopping 17,000 prisoners, according to a government statement.

That amnesty was meant to highlight "the tolerance of the Party and State as well as humane traditions of Việt Nam on law-breakers in order to encourage them to get back on right track and re-integrate into the society."

Two years back, the government was apparently running a bit low on compassion. Wardens only freed 5,459 prisoners on National Day, according to China's state-owned outlet Global Times.

Vietnam's independence day, however, isn't the only holiday that gives inmates hope for amnesty. Back in 2005, more than 7,000 prisoners were freed to mark the end of the Vietnam War.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/vietnam-free-10000-prisoners

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