Gary Glitter just got his get-out-of-jail ticket punched. But it will still be a while before he can cash it in.
A Vietnamese court has trimmed the glam-rocker's child-molestation sentence by three months as part of prison amnesty program to mark the Tet holiday, celebrating the country's new year.
Glitter, whose real name Paul Francis Gadd, was found guilty last March of committing obscene acts with two girls, aged 10 and 11, and was sentenced to three years in Thu Duc prison.
Per Vietnamese law, prisoners who exhibit good behavior, pay compensation to victims' families and are recommended by their fellow inmates for an early release can qualify to receive a presidential reprieve during the Vietnamese New Year, which gets underway this month.
Last month, Glitter's lawyer, Le Thanh Kinh, told reporters that the 62-year-old musician met the requirements and was eligible for an 18-month reduction in his sentence, meaning he could be a free man by as early as May.
"[Glitter] is an old man, and he is not in good health. And he has paid compensation to the victims as required by the court," Kinh said.
However, based on the severity of the charges, prison authorities settled on a three-month reprieve, meaning the earliest the "Do You Wanna Touch" will see his freedom will be August 2008.
"We all agreed that obscene acts with children should be condemned," Tran Thi Thien Huong, a judge reviewing Glitter's case, was quoted as saying.
The early parole has rankled child-protection advocates, who worry about the danger Glitter, a convicted sex offender in two countries, may pose to other kids once he gets out.
"We are disappointed to hear of a reduction," Christine Beddoe, director of the British arm of the international campaign to End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes, told London's Daily Mirror.
"ECPAT UK fully believes that Paul Gadd should serve the fullest sentence in order to protect children in Vietnam and the rest of the world. We believe that the British government must request his deportation at the end of his sentence and immediate return to the U.K. and he should be put on the Sex Offenders' Register."
Should he be shipped back to his native England, by law Glitter will have to register with British authorities and be added to a sex-offenders database.
The flamboyant performer, best known for his stadium-friendly anthem "Rock and Roll Part II," served a two-month jail term in Britain in 1999 and was placed on a child sex-offender list after pleading guilty to 54 counts of possessing kiddie porn. After leaving his homeland, he eventually turned up in Cambodia but was expelled from the country after child-welfare activists petitioned the government. That's when he settled in Vietnam.