Vietnam has freed a 51-year-old Vietnamese man, a government official said on Friday, after the detainee spent 4 years in jail for helping an overseas dissident group collect anti-Hanoi complaints via the Internet.
Nguyen Khac Toan was convicted on espionage charges and jailed for 12 years in December 2002 during a government crackdown on cyberspace dissent.
"After four years of executing the jail sentence, convict Nguyen Khac Toan has admitted his offence and shown the attitude of remorse," Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Dung said in a statement on Friday.
The provincial court of Ha Nam dropped the remaining eight years of Toan's sentence on Monday in accordance with Vietnam's "policy on clemency and humanity," the statement said.
Toan, who was released on Tuesday, had been a soldier and a mathematics teacher before going into business.
The government had accused Toan of receiving orders from an exiled Vietnamese organization based in France to gather letters of complaint and protests from those unhappy with the communist government.
Human rights groups and some Western governments had called for Toan's release.
Vietnam defends its human rights record and accuses foreign-based dissident groups of attempting to blacken the country's image.
Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.
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