US wants Vietnam to release some prisoners in coming weeks

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The United States wants Vietnam to release some "prisoners of conscience" in the coming weeks as the US Congress weighs its approach to a Pacific Rim trade treaty, a senior US rights official said on Friday.

"In the short term, we would like to see, of course, prisoners of conscience released," US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour Tom Malinowski told reporters.

"We want to see things moving in the right direction in Vietnam, not in the wrong direction," he added, saying Vietnam now held just over 100 such prisoners, down from just over 160 in 2013.