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Vietnam grants amnesty to 18,539 prisoners to mark independence

Vietnam has granted amnesty to more than 18,000 prisoners to mark the 70th anniversary of its independence from France.

Giang Son, deputy chairman of the President's Office, said that 18,539 inmates were granted amnesty under two directives signed by President Truong Tan Sang. They will be released from prisons starting on Monday.

He says the amnesty reflects a tradition for mercy in Vietnam as well as the government's clemency policy.

Officials said there were 34 foreigners are among those to be released - 16 from China, six from Malaysia, six from Laos and two from Australia.

More than 63,000 prisoners had been given early release under presidential amnesties since 2009, according to government figures.

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