Jailed Vietnamese activist Dinh Nguyen Kha was freed from prison on Thursday after serving a six-year term for handing out leaflets criticizing government policy over disputed islands in the South China Sea.
Kha was taken by ambulance from Xuyen Moc prison in Vietnam’s Vung Tao province to a police station in Tan An Town’s Ward 6, where he was processed for release, Kha’s mother Nguyen Thi Kim Lien told RFA’s Vietnamese Service.
“I had sent people to different places to watch for him, and after my husband noticed a car parking in front of the police station of Ward 6, he notified the rest of the family, and we all rushed over there,” she said.
At the time, Kha was in the building talking with police, she said.
“Then he came out of the office, but then went back in for another hour, and finally he emerged from the police station, and all of us who were sitting at a nearby coffee house went over to him to welcome him home.”
Asked why Kha had been brought back in an ambulance, police replied that the vehicle could hold nine officers, while their regular vehicles could hold only seven, she said.
More than a month before, Kha had been examined in prison by another political prisoner, a medical doctor, who said that Kha was suffering from hemorrhoids, and that these should be treated as quickly as possible, Kha’s mother said.
After protesting Vietnam’s handling of disputes over islands claimed by China in the South China Sea, Kha was arrested on Oct. 11, 2012, and was sentenced to six years in prison at his trial on May 16, 2013, according to a Vietnamese Political Prisoner Database prepared by the 88 Project.
Time spent in pretrial detention was credited toward his full sentence.
Kha’s older brother, Dinh Nhat Uy, was later arrested on a charge of “abusing democratic freedoms” for launching a Facebook campaign calling for his brother’s release, and on October 29 received a 15-month suspended sentence.
China’s claims and construction of artificial islands in the region have sparked frequent anti-China protests in Vietnam, which the one-party communist government in Hanoi fears as a potential threat to its own political control.
Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by An Nguyen. Written in English by Richard Finney.