Vietnam 'kidnap victim' Trinh Xuan Thanh appears on TV

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Trinh Xuan Thanh appeared in Vietnamese state TVImage source, Reuters
Image caption,
Trinh Xuan Thanh's confession on Vietnamese TV was forced, his lawyer says

A former oil executive who Germany accuses Vietnam of kidnapping after he applied for asylum in Berlin has appeared on Vietnamese state TV.

Trinh Xuan Thanh said he had turned himself in to the Vietnamese authorities after returning there.

The German foreign ministry said he had been abducted in an "unprecedented" breach of German and international law.

Mr Thanh is accused of causing $150m (£114m) in losses at state oil firm PetroVietnam.

"I wasn't thinking maturely and decided to hide, and during that time I realised I need to return to face the truth and... admit my faults and apologise," Mr Thanh, 51, said during his appearance on Vietnam Television.

In what was termed a signed confession dated 31 July, the state broadcaster quoted him as saying: "Because of fear I decided to hide in Germany, where I lived a precarious and anxious life.

"I returned to Vietnam and presented myself at the investigative authority."

Germany has ordered a Vietnamese intelligence officer to leave Germany, and demanded that Mr Thanh should be allowed to return to Germany.

'He looks very bad'

Mr Thanh's lawyer, Petra Schlagenhauf, condemned the Vietnamese authorities.

"This is a forced 'confession'... he was kidnapped. We know it, the German police know it, the German government knows it," she told BBC Vietnamese in an email.

"I fear for the health of my client. He looks very bad."

It is unclear if Mr Thanh has legal representation in Vietnam. Trials on camera are common in Vietnam.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Mr Trinh, pictured in Berlin, is accused of causing $150m in losses at Vietnam's state oil company

Dissent in the one-party state is not tolerated, but despite that, activists have publicly criticised the government amid the kidnapping allegations.

A Vietnamese foreign ministry spokeswoman said earlier that she felt "great pity" about the German government's stance.

"Vietnam very much respects and wants to develop the strategic partnership relation between Vietnam and Germany," she added.