Vietnam will release 18,539 prison inmates, including 34 foreign nationals, as part of this year’s National Day amnesty.
The State President Office announced in a press conference Friday the inmates will be released in batches starting from Monday ahead of the 70th National Day anniversary, which falls on September 2.
The inmates to be freed had been sentenced for a wide range of crimes, including murder, rape, drug-related crimes and robbery. None of them committed crimes against national security, according to Deputy Minister of Public Security Le Quy Vuong.
The foreign nationals to be freed include two Australians, six Laotians, one Cambodian, one Thai, 16 Chinese, six Malaysians and two Filipinos. Officials did not clarify which crimes the foreign prisoners were serving sentences for.
The oldest inmate to be freed is a 85-year-old man who has served four years of term and the youngest is 16 years old.
Giang Son, deputy head of the president office, told the press this year’s National Day amnesty has once again reflected the "humanitarian nature" of the government and is aimed at encouraging the inmates to become useful citizens.
He said the selection process of the amnesty was conducted in a fair and transparent manner.
Deputy Minister Vuong said this year’s amnesty is the second biggest-ever. The biggest amnesty was conducted in 2009 when 20,599 prisoners were freed, he said.
Vietnam typically grants amnesty to prisoners on major national holidays, including the Lunar New Year (Tet) and the National Day.