Aussies among prisoners freed in Vietnam

Two Australians imprisoned in Vietnam are to be released under a broad amnesty marking the country’s 70th anniversary independence day celebrations.


The unidentified Australians are among 34 foreigners to be released under the amnesty that includes inmates from China, Malaysia and Laos.

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman on Saturday confirmed the Australians were among those to be released.

“Two Australians who are in prison in Vietnam have been granted amnesty effective from 31 August 2015,” a DFAT spokesman said in an emailed statement to AAP.

Under Australia’s privacy laws, the identities of the Australians were not revealed.

There are currently 28 Australians detained or jailed in Vietnam on various charges, including drug trafficking.

Vietnam’s deputy chairman of the president’s office, Giang Son, told the media on Friday that 18,539 prisoners were granted amnesty under two directives signed by President Truong Tan Sang.

Those being granted an amnesty will be released from Monday.

Among those to be released are 837 prisoners who were sentenced for corruption-related offences, 2188 for murders and 1449 for drug-related crimes.

However, political activists were excluded from the amnesty. Human rights groups and several Western governments have called on Vietnam to release all prisoners of conscience.

Vietnam’s last prisoner amnesty took place in 2013 when more than 15,000 prisoners were released. Reports say more than 63,000 prisoners have been granted early release under presidential amnesties since 2009.

The amnesty coincides with Vietnam’s national day marking the declaration of independence on September 2, 1945 by Ho Chi Minh, the founder of the Vietnamese Communist Party.