Jailed dissident Vietnamese priest freed


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Jailed dissident Vietnamese priest Father Nguyen Van Ly, who has spent three years behind bars and suffered two strokes in detention, was released on Monday.

He was freed from a prison near Hanoi at 4 a.m. and driven in an ambulance back to his hometown of Hue, his sister, Nguyen Thi Hieu, told The Associated Press. She said he was in better health than the last time she saw him. Fr Nguyen had suffered a strokes in July and November and was unable to walk for a time, the report said.

In 2007, he was sentenced to eight years in prison for disseminating anti-government propaganda during a dramatic trial in which police muzzled him for shouting anti-communist slogans and accusing Vietnamese officials of practicing "the law of the jungle."

The priest has spent more than 15 years in prison since 1977, according to Freedom Now, a Washington-based law firm that serves as Ly's international counsel.

He is partly paralysed on the right side of his body but can walk with a cane, according to his sister, who said he is staying at the Archdiocese of Hue. Priests planned to call doctors to assess his health.