02/21/2007, 00.00
VIETNAM

Fr Nguyen Van Ly arrested in Huế

The priest was arrested after a building that is part of the Bishop’s Palace compound was searched. Known for his battles in favour of freedom of religion, he has already spent ten years in prison.

Huế (AsiaNews) – Some reports indicate that Fr Nguyen Van Ly, a clergyman who spent ten years in jail for defending freedom of religion, has been arrested. According to the Vietnam News Agency, the authorities searched his home on Sunday on suspicion that he committed acts that violated the law.

A source close to Father Ly told Églises d’Asie that around 7 pm on Sunday, several police vehicles arrived new the Nha Chung building which is part of the Bishop’s Palace, home to the bishop himself and several priests, Father Ly included.

Around 8 pm the building was surrounded by some 60 officers and the phone lines were cut. A team of agents led by a colonel specialised in religious affairs entered the premises and searched Father Ly’s room, breaking into a cupboard he had refused to unlock.

The archbishop’s secretary was present as a witness.

Six laptop computers and six cellphones belonging to Father Ly and his aides were confiscated along with many documents.

Father Ly, who said he was going on a hunger strike, answered all the questions he was asked with each answer signed by himself and the witness.

A few days earlier, on the night between February 16 and 17, the Eve of the Lunar New Year (Tet), the homes of Father Ly’s aides Nguyen Phong and Nguyen Binh Thanh, were also searched.

Both men were taken away and at present nothing is known about their fate.

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