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Vietnam releases political dissident ahead of president's US visit

[JURIST] Vietnamese state media Saturday reported the release of 36-year-old lawyer and political dissident Le Quoc Quan [advocacy blog], the second pro-democracy dissident released by the Vietnamese government ahead of President Nguyen Minh Tribet's June visit to the United States. Quan, who has detained since March 8, was charged with violating Article 88 of the Vietnamese criminal code, which prohibits the dissemination of anti-government "propaganda," by advocating that Vietnam [JURIST news archive] should adopt a multi-party system of government. Last Saturday, Vietnamese authorities released Ngyuyen Vu Binh, a pro-democracy dissident jailed for promoting democracy on the Internet. Tribet's planned visit to the US, which has prompted the Vietnamese government to release dissents as a gesture of goodwill, will be the first for a Vietnamese head of state.

In May, two Vietnamese human rights lawyers were sentenced [JURIST report] to five years and four years in prison for promoting democratic reforms. In March, a Catholic priest received an eight year prison sentence [JURIST report] for communicating with pro-democracy activists and distributing anti-government documents. AP has more.

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