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Vietnam Releases Key Dissidents Amid International Pressure

By BosNewsLife News Center

2/21/07 Vietnam (BosNewsLife) Officials, “released Nguyen Phong and Nguyen Binh Thanh, the President and Technical Director” of the VPP late Tuesday, February 20, said Viet Si, spokesman of dissidents group International Movement for Democracy and Human Rights in Vietnam. BosNewsLife and its affiliates were among the first to report on the arrests Monday, February 19.

“One thing I can guarantee you that [the] timely worldwide dissemination of the arrests has helped freeing those detainees quickly,” Viet Si said. There was still concern about the whereabouts of VPP Secretary He Hoang Thi Anh Dao, the spokesman added.

INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE

Vietnam has come under international pressure to allow more religious and political freedoms in the country. The United States last year removed Vietnam from its list of ‘Countries of Particular Concern’ regarding religious rights violations, a move that was criticized by human rights groups.

VPP is among parties fighting for more political and religious freedom in the Communist-run Asian nation. Viet Si said his group remained concerned about the situation of church leaders, including 86-year old Catholic Priest Chan Tin.

He said the priest, a well-known pro-democracy activist, had been questioned by security forces at his church, but was not yet detained. Other priests and Christians remain imprisoned across the country, including hundreds of predominantly Christian Degar Montagnards. Vietnamese authorities have denied any wrongdoing