04/14/2011, 00.00
VIETNAM

Catholics, arrested for supporting Cu Huy Ha Vu, released

Emily Nguyen
Lawyer Le Quoc Quan also released, although state media had announced that all those arrested would be prosecuted. Immediately after release, the lawyer and his wife went to some churches in Hanoi had to give thanks for their support.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) – All those arrested fro trying to follow the trial of human rights lawyer and dissident Cu Huy Ha Vu (pictured) were released yesterday, despite state media reports that they would be released only after charges were laid because police had collected enough evidence against them. Those released included the lawyer Le Quoc Quan and Pham Hong Son, a non-Catholic.

At least 29 Catholics were arrested on the morning of April 4, while they went to court to attend the trial against Vu. Several eyewitnesses have reported that shortly before being arrested Catholics were checked, their cell phones examined and were severely mistreated and even bystanders who intervened to help them were beaten.

While Le Quoc Quan was in jail in Hoan Kiem, the police raided and searched his house taking his computer and documents.

The arbitrary conduct of the police against people who wanted to attend the trial and the conduct of the trial itself have also provoked a reaction from the U.S. State Department.

Father Joseph Nguyen tells AsiaNews that the release came after a series of prayer vigils were held in various dioceses in the north, "the authorities seem to want to spread the tension that had arisen among Catholics soon after the recent arrests and attacks."

Immediately after their release, Quan, Son and their wives visited various churches in Hanoi to thank the priests and the community who have offered their support and their prayers for their salvation and for their liberation.

A thanksgiving mass was celebrated by the Redemptorists at Thai Ha Church, attended by a large congregation including non-Catholics.
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