» 05/25/2012, 00.00
Four Catholic activists, on trial for "propaganda against the state", are sentenced
J. B. An Dang
The young people received sentences ranging from 18 to 42 months in prison, followed by a period of probation. Thousands of people attended the trial outside the court, brandishing slogans of protest. Families announce the appeal. Vietnamese bishops: the arbitrary application of the law results in aberrations.
Hanoi (AsiaNews) - A Vietnamese court has sentenced four Catholic activists of Vinh, under Article 88 of the Penal Code for distributing "anti-government leaflets" and conducting "propaganda against the state" (see AsiaNews 24/05/2012 Vietnamese Catholic activists on trial for "propaganda against the state"). The young people - college students or recent graduates - appeared yesterday before the judges of the province of Nghe An, in the north of the country. According to prosecutors, they were active in the Redemptorist News information network and volunteers of a Pro-Life movement, which is fighting for the protection of human life. Their claims of innocence during the trial and the protests of thousands of Christians activists camped outside the courthouse awaiting the verdict proved to no avail.
Local witnesses reported that Duong Van Dau received a sentence of 42 months in prison, followed by 18 months' probation, Tran Huu Duc 39 months in prison and one year of probation; Chu Manh Son 36 months in prison and one year of probation, and finally Hoang Phong, sentenced to 18 months.
In spite of months of preventive detention awaiting trial, the four activists have received support and solidarity from the Vietnamese Catholics, public opinion - which appreciates the work done for the benefit of society and the poor - and the international community. Thousands of faithful from Thai Ha and Hanoi camped outside the court, trying to gain access as per the authorities' promise of open proceedings in court.
In fact, only close relatives were allowed to attend the hearing, the majority, including Fr. Anthony Nguyen Van Nien and Fr. Francis Xavier Hoang SI Huong, Cau Ram parish, were forced to remain outside reciting rosaries and brandishing placards reading "My brother is innocent" and "We protest against the arbitrary and illegal arrests of innocent people."
The police finally decided to allow them entrance inside the outer courtyard of the court, because the protests staged outside were attracting the attention of passersby and onlookers. Immediately after the trial ended, the families of the condemned announced their intention to appeal, noting that the punishment is not comparable to the alleged "offense" committed.
In recent days, the Justice and Peace Committee of the Vietnamese bishops' conference has also intervened in the court system of the country, stressing that "if the application of the law remains arbitrary and does not the rule of law closely" it ends up causing "many aberrations, which eventually push people beyond the limits ". The bishops denounced the "arbitrary arrests", which violates both the Penal Code as well as the international conventions signed by Vietnam.
Hanoi, families of imprisoned Catholics appeal to religious leaders to pray for their release
Ten families in the province of Nghe An have written a letter to Catholic, Protestant and Buddhist leaders. They ask for help and prayer, to secure the release of their children "kidnapped" by police. Masses and vigils across the country for religious freedom in Vietnam. Reporters Without Borders and Redemptorists support the Catholic parents struggle.
Vinh, four Catholic activists sentence reduced on appeal, but peaceful protest continues
Sentence confirmed for four other defendants. They are part of a group of 14 people in prison on charges of "subversion" against the state. Pro human rights NGOs speak of "scandalous" judgment. The judges state that "any request for pluralism is against the law."
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.
Young Vinh Catholic kidnapped by police on Christmas Eve
Pierre Nguyên Dinh Cuong was taken by men in plain clothes, without an arrest warrant. The sixteenth since end of July to undergo such treatment. People involved in groups like the John Paul II Center for the defence of life or as the Movement of Catholic entrepreneurs and intellectuals on the rise in northern Vietnam. For weeks, the families left with no knowledge of their whereabouts.
20/01/2010 CHINA – HONG KONG
Arrested in Hong Kong, Tiananmen protest leader sentenced to nine years in a Chinese prison
He was found guilty on charges of attempted fraud for using a fake passport. Instead of expelling him to the place he came from, Hong Kong authorities handed him over to Chinese police.
Pope: together with the faithful in China on 24 May to celebrate Our Lady of Sheshan
During the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis speaks about the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, instituted by Benedict XVI. Chinese Catholics must make a “personal contribution to communion among believers and to harmony in the whole society." AsiaNews Symposium on the Church in China is set for this week. Francis appeals for peace in the Central African Republic, and for loving “one another following the example of the Lord”. For him, “Sometimes conflicts, pride, envy, and divisions leave a blotch on the beautiful face of the Church.” Five new cardinals will be named, including a bishop from Laos.
May 24, 2017: 'China, the Cross is Red', AsiaNews Symposium
The event will be held to mark the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. A title with many meanings: the Cross is red from the blood of the martyrs; From attempts to suffocate the faith with state control; Bceause of the contribution of hope that Christianity gives to a population tired of materialism and consumerism that is seeking new moral criteria. The theme is also about the great and unexpected religious rebirth in the country. Guests to include: Card. Pietro Parolin, Msgr. Savio Hon, the sociologist of religions Richard Madsen, the testimonies of Chinese priests and laity.
18/05/2017 ASIA - VATICAN
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.