» 03/26/2009, 00.00
J.B. An Dang
Thai Ha defendants’ appeal opens tomorrow as their attorney is harassed again and again
The authorities are conducting a campaign of persecution against the lawyer, including detention, searches, interrogation, phone threats, banning him from travelling to Hanoi where the trial is slated to take place, as well as taking away from him his licence to practice. Against all this state media is carrying out a smear campaign against him as a person and a law professional.
Hanoi authorities want no one to attend Thai Ha Catholics trial
Anyone who wants to attend the proceedings must submit a written request. The trial itself will not be held in a courthouse but on the 4th floor of the People’s Committee building. On the same day that the trial starts the capital’s auxiliary bishop is consecrated.
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.
Hanoi authorities’ unkept promises over Thai Ha
In a letter Redemptorist superior describes his attempts to solve by dialogue the dispute over land seized from the parish. Nine Vietnamese bishops have come to express their solidarity to the faithful who demand justice and non-discrimination for Catholics.
The dead speak to Hanoi media to discredit Thai Ha Catholics
The anti-demonstrators campaign continues. After presenting fake priests, a TV station pays a nameless beggar to claim to be Christian. A Catholic who died years ago is interviewed whilst false statements are attributed to a judge and a priest.
Sentence against faithful of Thai Ha upheld. Catholics protest injustice
The appeals court has reconfirmed the sentence against the 8 who were calling for the return of land belonging to the parish. This morning, 5,000 Catholics marched for 12 kilometers to the site of the trial, and were stopped by 1,000 police officers in riot gear with guard dogs. The state television channel accuses the Redemptorists, and recommends that they be arrested. In Saigon, 5,000 Catholics and non-Catholics - together with local political authorities - took part in a prayer vigil. The eight defendants are "like Jesus."
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