Tuesday, March 27, 2007

National Assembly considers amnesty bill

A bill to regulate the granting of amnesty to prisoners is being considered by Vietnam's National Assembly. According to Vietnam News Agency, General Le Hong Anh, Minister of Public Security, said such a law is necessary "to reflect the state’s humanitarian policy and to create a solid legal basis for granting reprieves." The law would also apply to foreign nationals. Some legislators have questioned the bill because they feel it is "vague on whether amnesties were to be decided by judicial or administrative agencies, and its validity and effect." Other legislators have said those sentenced but temporarily exempted from serving their time should not be eligible for pardon.

Amnesty in Vietnam is normally granted on major anniversaries, particularly Tet (Vietnamese new year) which takes place around the end of January, and National Day (commemorating the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945) on September 2. The great majority of released prisoners in these amnesties are common criminals, but small numbers of dissidents have also been included in the amnesties.

Source: Vietnam News Agency/Thanh Nien, March 27.


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