Vietnam released one of its leading democracy activists from prison March 15 after the dissident Catholic priest spent three years and suffered two strokes in solitary confinement, his lawyer and sister said. Authorities released Father Nguyen Van Ly from a prison near Hanoi at 4 a.m. and drove him in an ambulance back to his hometown of Hue, his sister, Nguyen Thi Hieu, said. “I’m very glad to see him out of prison and pleased to see that he is in better health than he was when I last saw him,” Hieu said. In 2007, Father Ly was sentenced to 8 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.” Father Ly is one of Vietnam’s best-known human rights activists and 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. (AP)

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