HANOI - Vietnam has released a political activist a week before President Nguyen Minh Triet visits the US as Washington applies diplomatic pressure on Hanoi over jailed dissidents.
The official Vietnam News Agency reported yesterday that Triet granted amnesty to Nguyen Vu Binh, 39, a former Communist Party magazine journalist, who was sentenced to seven years and three years probation in 2004 on charges of spying.
Binh was released on Saturday from Nam Ha Prison near Hanoi and returned to his home in the city.
The US had called for the release of Binh and other activists who have been jailed in one-day trials on charges of "spreading propaganda against the state".
Triet will be the first post-war communist Vietnam head of state to visit the US since the end of the war in 1975.
He is scheduled to meet President George Bush on June 22. - Reuters