Vietnam frees dissident lawyer from prison early
HANOI (AP) - A US-trained human rights lawyer has been released early from a Vietnamese prison even as the Communist government intensifies its crackdown on activists and bloggers it sees as challenging one-party rule.
Mr Le Cong Dinh was freed Wednesday for his "good abidance by prison rules", the online newspaper VnExpress reported. The Foreign Ministry confirmed the early release on Thursday in a brief statement to The Associated Press.
Mr Dinh had handled high-profile human rights cases and once represented Vietnamese fish farmers fighting a trade complaint brought by US catfish growers. He also called for political pluralism within Vietnam and spoke critically of neighbouring China's claims to disputed islands in the South China Sea.
He was arrested in 2009 and sentenced to five years in prison for conspiring to overthrow the government. He served a total three and a half years, since his sentence had already been reduced twice.