Vietnam’s prisons may separate homosexuals

By Thai Son, Thanh Nien News

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Inmates being discharged from a prison in Vietnam. Photo: Thai Son Inmates being discharged from a prison in Vietnam. Photo: Thai Son


The Ministry of Public Security has proposed the creation of separate jail cells for homosexuals in a bill the agency is circulating for public opinion.
Under the draft temporary detention law, which will only pertain to detainees being investigated for a crime (rather than prisoners serving time post-conviction) agencies that are unable to identify the gender of arrestees will coordinate with medical agencies to identify their genders.
The list of suspects eligible for such determination includes people with congenital hermaphrodites and those who have partially or fully completed elective gender reassignment surgeries.
These detainees will be held in separate holding areas before being sent to gender-based sections when their gender is decided.
Those who engage in homosexual relations with other inmates will be fined and sent to separate holding areas.
The bill also proposed separate detention for foreigners, teens, people with infectious diseases, people accused of brutal crimes (e.g. murder, rape, robbery, national security crimes and crimes carrying death sentence).
Besides the detention proposals, those who wrote the law also said that detention facilities should provide entertainment for temporary detainees, including broadcasts of the Voice of Vietnam or local stations.
Each cell of 20 detainees should receive daily deliveries of Nhan Dan newspaper or other local papers. They can also be allowed to watch some television programs.
Foreigners will also be allowed to read books or newspapers in their language with the permission of the investigative agencies.
Currently, the gender of the arrestees is decided as by their ID card, leading to the problem of transgenders being held with members of the opposite sex.
It is illegal for prisoners to engage in sexual activities.
The bill will be discussed by lawmakers in 2015.
In May, lawmakers lifted a ban on same-sex marriage ceremonies without officially recognizing them.

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