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  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato

    » 01/09/2013, 00.00


    Catholic activists in Nghe An get up to 13 years in prison

    Joseph Dang

    Three defendants are sentenced to 13 years in prison. The others get between three and eight. An appeal is made to the United Nations against the arbitrary conviction. US scholar says the situation for non-violent social and political activists is getting worse.

    Hanoi (AsiaNews) - After a two-day trial, the People's Court in Nghe An (central Vietnam) convicted all 14 Catholic defendants on charges of subversion against the state. All of them could have received the death penalty. The court instead sentenced three-Hồ Đức Hòa, Đặng Xuân Diệu, Lê Văn Sơn-to 13 years in prison. The other 11 received sentences ranging from three to eight years.

    For many Catholic groups in Vietnam, the harsh sentence is intended to limit freedom of expression. In fact, the 14 Catholics were accused of membership in Viet Tan, a non-violent group that supports democracy, which the authorities describe as "terrorist".

    People who attended the trial said the defenders told the court that their action was only meant to help people by informing them about corrupt party and government officials who enriched themselves during the recent financial crisis.

    For some Catholics, who were not allowed inside the courtroom (pictured), the trial was "immoral".

    It is the culmination of a campaign launched by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung against dissidents and bloggers who use the internet to spread their views.

    Some suggest that the prime minister has even set quotas for the number of Christians, both Catholic and Protestant, to be arrested in order to strike at the community. Some of the people arrested were apparently picked up randomly by police, some during Mass in church.

    The lawyers representing the 14 Catholics on trial complained that their clients were tortured and forced into confessing to crimes they did not commit.

    Of the group of 14 on trial, 11 belong to a group that sent an appeal to a United Nations group against arbitrary detention.

    Last week, Stanford University Law professor Allan Weiner filed an update on the group's petition to the United Nations, saying their cases highlighted Vietnamese government's "increasing reliance on detention powers as a means of suppressing established international human rights."

    Their case shows how conditions for those engaged in non-violent political and social activism in Vietnam are "deteriorating," he added.

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    See also

    31/12/2012 VIETNAM
    Fourteen Catholic activists could get the death penalty in Vietnam
    They are accused of subversion for going online to expose corruption in the party and the government. Their trial is being held at a time of low media coverage to avoid criticism from the international community. Starting in September, PM Nguyen Tan Dung launched a campaign against activists and bloggers, which he reiterated on 17 December. Catholic Maria Ta Phong Tan is among those at risk. In 2012, 40 activists and bloggers have been convicted.

    30/01/2010 VIETNAM
    Vietnam, dissident Pham Thanh Nghien sentenced to 7 years
    The writer, 32, was arrested in 2008. After a half-day trial, she was found guilty of "propaganda against the state". In the last three months, 14 dissidents convicted.

    21/01/2010 VIETNAM
    Ho Chi Minh City, sentences dissidents accused of subversion to five to 16 years
    Among them Paul Le Cong Dinh, a 41 year-old Catholic lawyer. Additional penalty of house arrest. The trial was held between tight security. U.S. diplomat: verdict contrary to human rights obligations.

    29/11/2008 VIETNAM
    Hanoi's policy: eliminate Catholics
    There is a fundamental lack of understanding on the part of the authorities of the very idea of religion behind the choice of oppression and discrimination as seen in the trial against the parishioners of Thai Ha.

    04/04/2011 VIETNAM
    Tens of thousands of Catholics in Vietnam support sentenced dissident
    Cu Huy Ha Vu, a lawyer and activist, was sentenced to seven years in prison and a further three years of house arrest for having challenged the government on pollution of mines and single party rule. His trial was not public, as the government had promised. Prayer vigils for him in Hanoi, Saigon and other parts of the country. Catholic bloggers and activists arrested.

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