NHỮNG VỤ ÁN
Dissidents placed under house arrest after Vietnam drops
Vietnamese authorities ended an investigation
into "treason" by a leading dissident, placing him and a colleague under
formal house arrest, the official police newspaper reported Monday.
Biologist Ha Si Phu and former Communist
Party official Mai Thai Linh have been under investigation since May on
suspicion of collaborating with overseas groups calling for democracy
and human rights in Vietnam.
The government dropped its probe of the two
men, saying they confessed their crimes, Cong An Nhan Dan, or People's
Police, newspaper reported.
Now Phu, 60, and Linh, who police say is in
his 50s, are barred from leaving the central highland city of Dalat, in
a formal order issued Friday.
International human rights groups say that
Vietnam routinely clamps down on political and religious dissidents.
Phu, former vice director of the Vietnamese
Institute of Science in Dalat, has penned numerous critiques against the
government. Phu and Linh are part of a group of dissident intellectuals
who are closely watched by the government.
"Due to their old age, their sincerity in
reporting, their admission of guilt and their pleading for lesser
punishment, the security investigation bureau of the Ministry of Public
Security has suspended their investigation into the case," the paper
The police order formalizes the heavily
restricted conditions the two men have been living under since the probe
was launched, a move that triggered protests from human rights groups.
A treason conviction carries a penalty
ranging from seven years' imprisonment to the death penalty
The newspaper World Security, run by the
Ministry of Public Security, reprinted excerpts on Monday from a January
interview in which it said Phu admitted he "made mistakes due to lack of
understanding of politics" and said he did not want to be the
"instrument" of extremist groups.
"I'm willing to exchange ideas with others on
ideology, but I am not a fighter and never want to be used as another's
symbol," he was quoted as saying. (AP)
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