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Seriously ill dissident editor granted early release

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders welcomes the release of Father Nguyen Van Ly, one of the editors of the dissident publication "Tu do Ngon luan", whose health deteriorated drastically while held in Ba Sao prison in the north of the country.

"The authorities have finally shown a minimum of compassion towards Father Ly, who suffered a stroke in his cell," Reporters Without Borders said. "We hope he will be able to convalesce without being under constant police surveillance and we urge the authorities to abandon any idea to sending him back to prison."

Several sources said Father Ly returned on 15 March 2010 to the archdiocesan residence in the city of Hue where he used to live and has received visits from relatives and friends there. One of his relatives told an international radio station that he had been given a one-year parole on humanitarian grounds. For the time being he will have to reside in the archdioceses retreat house pending an improvement in his health.

Last November, Reporters Without Borders accused the Vietnamese government of criminal behaviour for refusing to release Father Ly although he was partially paralysed.

Arrested in 2007 and sentenced to eight years in prison because of his articles criticising the government, Father Ly has become a symbol of peaceful opposition to Vietnam's one-party state.
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