Thirty-four foreign inmates are among the 18,539 prisoners given a chance to go home in an amnesty granted on the occasion of Vietnam’s National Day (September 2).
The amnesty decision, granted by State President Truong Tan Sang, was officially announced by the President’s Office in an international press meeting in Hanoi on Friday.
This year’s annual pardon is the second biggest of its kind ever in Vietnam.
The foreign prisoners to be freed include 16 Chinese, six Laotians, six Malaysians, two Australians, two Filipinos, one Cambodian, and one Thai, according to the decision.
“The amnesty reflects the humanitarian policies of the Party and state of Vietnam towards offenders, and is aimed at encouraging the inmates to reform themselves to become useful citizens,” Giang Son, deputy manager of the President’s Office, told reporters.
Of the total 18,539 inmates to be released, 18,298 have been serving their sentences, 225 have received postponement in executing their verdicts, and 16 have seen their serving sentences suspended.
Among the amnestied are 1,449 drug-related offenders, 2,188 people charged with murders, 1,365 sentenced for rapes, and 2,651 tried for robberies, Senior Lieutenant General Le Quy Vuong, Deputy Minister of Public Security, said.
He added that none of the pardoned this year has committed crimes against national security.
There are 2,026 women in the total number of the pardoned people.
The oldest amnestied inmate this year is Nguyen Van Bay, an 85-year-old man, and the youngest is a 15-year-old teenager, Nguyen Van Thao.
Vietnam’s biggest amnesty by far was conducted in 2009 when 20,599 prisoners were freed, Senior Lieutenant General Vuong said.
The official also said that the rate of relapse into crime by the pardoned inmates in recent year is very low, at less than 1 percent.
A recent poll shows that 82 percent of the amnestied surveyed have managed to find a job, he added.
Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, in his article on the amnesty published by Tuoi Tre (Youth) on August 21, called on all Party units, local authorities, fatherland front committees, social organizations and businesses to contribute efforts to support the amnestied to help them reintegrate into the community, prevent them from relapsing into previous crimes, and encourage them to become people useful to society.
On July 15, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung issued an official message requiring the chairs of the people’s committees of centrally-run provinces and cities to direct local governments and all bodies concerned to ensure community reintegration for amnestied prisoners and people who have finished serving their sentences.