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UPI : Vietnam to free democracy activist

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HANOI, Vietnam, Aug. 28, 2006 (UPI) — Vietnam has reportedly promised to free its political dissidents before of U.S. President Bush’s proposed visit this year.

The gesture is seen as an effort by Vietnam to win more international support, including from the U.S. Congress, for membership in the World Trade Organization, the BBC reported Monday.

Among those to be released is Pham Hong Son, who was jailed more than four years ago for translating and distributing an article on democracy.

The release of the dissidents will be part of a general amnesty for about 5,300 prisoners to mark Vietnam’s National Day.

Among those not being released are a number of Buddhist dissidents who remain under house arrest.

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