Vietnam mulls freeing 10,000 inmates for Lunar New Year

Vietnam is considering the release of some 10,000 prisoners under a presidential amnesty to mark Lunar New Year, a senior Vietnamese official said Saturday. The four-day Lunar New Year festival, known as Tet, starts January 26, and is the most important holiday in communist Vietnam's calendar. Maj. Nguyen Van Ninh of the Public Security Ministry said inmates imprisoned for serious national security violations, organized crime, child sex abuse or drug-related offenses would not be eligible for release under the amnesty. The government said it has authorized the release of hundreds of thousands of prisoners since 2000 under amnesties to mark New Year, Independence Day and Reunification Day, and that some 4.6 percent of them re-offended.