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  • » 01/13/2009, 00.00

    VIETNAM

    Ruling against eight Thai Ha Catholics to be appealed



    Hanoi’s Court of Appeal will hear the request for trial review. Despite the light sentence the defendants want their names cleared. False reports by state media were one of the factors triggering their appeal.

    Hanoi (AsiaNews) – Hanoi’s Court of Appeal will hear the case involving eight Catholics sentenced by a lower court in the Thai Ha parish church case (prayer vigil pictured), in Hanoi. Last Wednesday the Court of Appeal accepted in fact to hear the appeal and will announce the date of the new hearing within two months.

    The defendants are appealing what they consider an unfair ruling by the Ba Dinh’s People’s Court for “disorderly conduct” and “damaging state property” because they were not allowed to present any evidence in their own defence.

    Although the sentence is surprisingly lenient, 12 to 17 months without an administrative warning—due according to the defendants to the worldwide publicity their case received—, they still seek the truth and want to be exonerated of all charges.

    The appeal is the next and final step in their quest for this goal.

    Another factor that contributed to their decision to appeal is the false reports about the case presented by state media during and after the trial.

    Defendants and witnesses reported that the former pleaded not guilty before the court. But state media, especially the New Hanoi News and Vietnam Television 1, deliberately reported that the “all defendants had admitted their guilt, acknowledging that they had done wrongful things in violation of the law.”

    Two complaints were filed against state media for this kind of malpractice to show the world how immoral and unreliable they actually are.

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    See also

    09/03/2009 VIETNAM
    Campaign of intimidation against lawyer representing Thai Ha parishioners continues
    Le Tran Luât, legal counsel for people who filed charges against state media for false reporting of their trial, has been detained by police. His office had been raided previously. His Bar Association has threatened to suspend his licence, and an aide has been detained and interrogated.

    09/09/2008 VIETNAM
    False priests appear on Hanoi media to discredit Catholics
    In the dispute over Thai Ha parish property, state TV and government newspapers introduce party officials as priests. For the diocese these men "were ‘ordained’ by the government."

    11/03/2009 VIETNAM
    New defamation campaign by Hanoi media against Catholics of Thai Ha
    It is feared that this activity is paving the way for new attacks against the faithful. The attitude of the media comes together with acts of intimidation against the lawyer in charge of a lawsuit by parishioners against a newspaper and a television station for false reporting on their trial.

    22/09/2008 VIETNAM
    Thugs attack Thai Ha Catholics as police look on
    Goon squad goes into action under the indifferent eye of the police, ransacking, destroying an outdoor altar, and sullying a statue of Our Lady. Hanoi authorities have the archbishop’s residence surrounded, pledging to “severely punish” the archbishop, guilty among other things of trying to exercise his rights that are recognised under law.

    23/09/2008 VIETNAM
    Cardinal Pham Minh Man slams manipulation by state media
    Prelate calls on the faithful to pray for an end to the violence and for renewed dialogue in favour of justice. He points out how the words of the capital’s archbishop have been deliberately distorted.



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