The Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, Christoph Strässer, issued the following statement on 20 April on the release of the Vietnamese human rights activist Mai Thi Dung:
I am pleased that Mai Thi Dung has been released. This is a step in the right direction. At the same time, many people remain in prison in Viet Nam for expressing their opinion publicly and criticising the Government or the Communist Party. I call on the Vietnamese authorities to also release these people without delay and to refrain from implementing Penal Code provisions that, among other things, restrict freedom of expression and assembly.
Mai Thi Dung is a Hoa Hao Buddhist who took part in several demonstrations and hunger strikes in protest against the repression of religious freedom. She was arrested in August 2005 and sentenced to six years in prison the following month for inciting unrest. Mai Thi Dung continued to practise her religion in prison and organised Buddhist ceremonies. As a result, she was sentenced to a further five years in prison for resisting persons in the performance of their official functions. She became ill while in prison and is reported to be partially paralysed. She did not receive adequate medical care.