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Inmates rise up at Vietnam prison; order restored

July 1, 2013

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — A group of inmates at a prison in Vietnam staged a rare, yet brief uprising in which the prison chief was taken hostage before order was restored, state media reported Monday.

One inmate attacked a police officer with a metal rod Sunday morning and at least 50 others raided the kitchen and held the prison chief, the Thanh Nien newspaper reported. Police from other prisons near the Z 30A facility were mobilized and order was restored by evening.

Officials at the prison in Dong Nai province declined to comment.

Thanh Nien quoted Maj. Gen. Ho Thanh Dinh, deputy director of Vietnam’s corrections department, as saying the prisoners revolted because of complaints over food. He didn’t elaborate.

Prison chief Col. Ho Phi Thang told the newspaper he was not threatened or abused during his captivity.

Le Thang Long, who was released from the prison last June after serving three years on charges of attempting to overthrow the government, said inmates there have long complained of poor treatment and abuse, including occasional beatings.

“Their human dignity wasn’t respected,” Long said Monday by telephone from the southern economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City, where he is serving a three-year term of house arrest.

Prison uprisings are rare in Vietnam, a one-party state where the government cracks down on those who challenge its authority.

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