Cablegate: Prisoner Amnesty Disappointing

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A

Reftels (A) 8/14/04 Sim-Boardman E-mail (B) Hanoi 2208

1. (U) This is a retransmission and update of Hanoi 2397.
First transmission duplicated and reinserted deleted text
due to track-changes function of Microsoft Word.

2. (U) No U.S. citizens and no high-profile political
prisoners were among the 8623 individuals receiving
amnesties to mark Vietnam's National Day on September 2. In
an August 30 press conference to announce the amnesty, Vice
Foreign Minister Le Van Bang stated that "considerable
consideration" had been given to those cases highlighted by
foreign governments during bilateral discussions and human
rights dialogues, and that ten individuals raised on these
occasions would be included in the amnesty. That said, all
ten of these had, in fact, already been released, one as
long as four years ago.

3. (U) Subsequent to the press conference, the GVN provided
to diplomats and the press the names of these ten
individuals (list follows in Para 6). The USG had in the
past raised these cases on various occasions, and we were
already aware that nine of them were no longer incarcerated.

4. (U) Six of the ten are ethnic minorities from Phu Yen
province identified as having been released between March
and June 2004. During discussions with Ambassador Hanford
in Washington in December 2003, however, VFM Bang had
identified four of these six as having already been

5. (SBU) Comment: Considering that Vietnam's Ambassador to
the U.S. had brought this amnesty to the attention of former
EAP DAS Daley (Ref A), we are disappointed that the GVN
delivered such an underwhelming result. Furthermore, as all
ten of the individuals raised by the international community
had already been released, it is hard to find much to be
positive about. End Comment.

6. (U) List of ten amnesty recipients whose cases were
raised by foreign governments:

-- Ho Van Trong. Trong's release in June had been
highlighted in Australia's Human Rights Dialogue (Ref B).

-- Nguyen Ha Hai. Hai is the only individual receiving an
amnesty about which the USG was not previously aware. He is
reportedly the third ranking officer in the unrecognized Hoa
Hao Central Buddhist Church, Nguyen Ha Hai. He was released
from prison on May 31, but died on June 14.

-- Nguyen Ngoc Tan. Released April 4, 2000. Deceased.

-- Ho Vu Khang. Released January 19, 2002.
-- L Mo Y Bhit. Ethnic Minority from Phu Yen province.
Released March 19, 2004.

-- Ksor Y Hoi. Ethnic Minority from Phu Yen province.
Released June 2, 2004.

-- Ksor Y Lac. Ethnic Minority from Phu Yen province.
Released March 19, 2004.

-- Y Blong Mlo. Ethnic Minority from Phu Yen province.
Released June 2, 2004.

-- Y Du Ksor (Ama Hblit). Ethnic Minority from Phu Yen
province. Released June 2, 2004.

-- Nay Y Bluk (Ama Hlit). Ethnic Minority from Phu Yen
province. Released May 15, 2004.

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