Vietnamese dissident Doan Thi Hong has been launched from jail after serving a sentence of two and a half years for “disturbing safety” by organizing public protests and has been reunited along with her household, Vietnamese sources say.

Hong, additionally referred to as Xuan Hong, was freed on March 9 unwell with weakened eyesight, a digestive dysfunction, and a tumor rising in her chest, and is the primary member of the activist Hien Phap, or Structure Group, to be free of jail.

“I’m very comfortable to be reunited with my household and to see my relations and youngsters,” mentioned Hong, whose youngest daughter was three years outdated when Hong was arrested.

“Nevertheless, having my freedom now jogs my memory of these others who’re nonetheless in jail, and I really feel so sorry for them at any time when I consider them,” she mentioned.

Hong mentioned that after having her well being checked, she’s going to attempt to reclaim a bike seized by police on the time of her Sept. 2, 2018 arrest in Ho Chi Minh Metropolis’s District 12 for planning to prepare a public protest two days later.

“As soon as I get the motorcycle again to make use of for my transportation, I can take into consideration purchase and promote some items to assist me make ends meet,” she mentioned.

The Hien Phap Group, a community of activists shaped in 2017 to name for the rights to freedom of speech and meeting assured by Vietnam’s personal Structure, had performed a significant function in calling for protests that rocked Vietnamese cities in June 2018 in opposition to a proposed cybersecurity regulation and a regulation granting concessions of land to Chinese language companies.

Seven of its members are nonetheless in jail serving sentences of from 5 to eight years on expenses of “disturbing safety” below Article 118 of Vietnam’s Penal Code.

Police investigators strongly urged Hong following her arrest to not rent a lawyer to defend her in court docket, saying this is able to solely earn her an extended sentence on conviction, Hong mentioned, including that she had already wished to keep away from putting a monetary burden on her household.

“Due to this fact, I refused to [have a lawyer]. However after seeing my household, and particularly after talking with [my elder sister], I made a decision to get a lawyer anyway,” she mentioned.

In its Freedom within the World 2021 report, Washington D.C.-based Freedom Home gave Vietnam an total rating of 19 out of a doable 100, a one-point drop from final yr’s score. Vietnam scored three out of 40 in political rights, and 16 out of 60 in civil liberties.

”Freedom of expression, non secular freedom, and civil society activism are tightly restricted [and the] authorities have more and more cracked down on residents’ use of social media and the web,” Freedom Home mentioned.

Reported by RFA’ Vietnamese Service. Translated by Chau Vu. Written in English by Richard Finney.

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