Vietnam frees jailed Catholic priest ahead of Obama's visit
May 21, Bangkok: Before the visit of US President Barack Obama in Vietnam, the country has granted early release from prison to a Catholic priest, who is one of its most prominent dissidents.
The Catholic Archdiocese of the central city of Hue reported on its webpage that it welcomed the return Friday of 70-year-old Father Nguyen Van Ly from prison.
Ly has served several long terms in prison or under house arrest for promoting political and religious freedoms in the communist nation. He has been serving an eight-year prison term since March 2007 after being convicted of spreading propaganda against the state, reports said.
Vietnam's persecution of dissidents has been a roadblock to warmer relations with the United States, from which it is seeking the lifting of an arms embargo.
The Oslo Times