In May-June, 1969, a study team, comprised mainly of religious leaders, visited South Vietnam and issued a report on civil and religious freedom in areas the Saigon regime controls. The following extract is taken from U.S. Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, Hearings: Civilian Casualty, Social Welfare and Refugee Problems in South Vietnam. 91:1, June 24-25, 1969 ( Washington, D.C., 1969), Pt. 1, pp. 99-105.
The large majority of those imprisoned in South Vietnam are held because they oppose the government; they are "political prisoners." Undoubtedly, a great many of these are, as the government classifies them, "Viet Cong." Legally speaking, they are properly prisoners of war--although they are kept in a separate category from military prisoners. Others are "civilians related to Communist activities"; i.e., V.C. agents, and are accurately classified as such. Still others, many of them detained without hearing or trial, should be classified differently. Some of these have been picked up in "search and destroy" sweeps and are innocent of anything save being present in an area of military operations. Others are clearly political prisoners. They are nationalists and not Communists, but are seen by the government as inimical to its continuing control. In the official statistics very few "detainees" and "political prisoners" are so classified. The government places the vast majority of prisoners in either the "Communist" or the "criminal" category.
The classification of prisoners in 41 Correctional Centers as given by Col. Nguyen Psu Sanh, Director of Correctional Institutions, is:
|Civilians related to Communist activities||4.16|