04/19/2012, 00.00
VIETNAM

Hanoi archbishop calls for investigation into assault against Fr Van Binh

As police stand idly by, a group of "thugs" attack the clergyman, destroy a house slated to become an orphanage. A press release by the archdiocese slams the violation of the law, describes the incident as a brutal attack against human dignity that has filled priests and believers with outrage as well as sown disquiet among Catholic communities.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) - In a letter to the authorities, the archbishopric of Hanoi urged the authorities to carry out an investigation into the "brutal aggression" against Fr Nguyễn Văn Bình (pictured). In the same letter, it called for an inquiry into the attack against a house slated to become an orphanage and demanded respect for human dignity and an end to such "savage practices".  The letter was issued in response to an incident that occurred last Saturday in Hanoi's Chương Mỹ District.

Fr Van Binh is parish priest in Yên Kiên. He had bought 500 m2 of land in Go Cao parish, in Chương Mỹ (Hanoi). Here he built a house that he planned to turn into an orphanage in cooperation with Agape Family, a Catholic association.

In the early morning last Saturday, a group of thugs attacked and destroyed the house. Alerted at 9 am of what was happening, the priest in charge of the building rushed to the site where he was savagely assaulted. He was eventually taken to hospital after his attackers left him unconscious.

In its statement the next day, the archbishopric said that at the time of his hospitalisation, the priest was bleeding from one ear, had an injured eardrum, suffered headaches and pain to the stomach as well as bruises to the face.

Thanks to the intervention of the archbishopric and the pastoral council, the clergyman was taken to a specialised medical facility where he underwent a series of tests.

Currently, he is recovering in the archbishop's building and his conditions appear to have improved.

According to some accounts obtained by AsiaNews, dozens of police officers were present at the scene of the assault as it was underway. None of the agents tried to intervene to stop the thugs who destroyed the building and assaulted Fr Văn Bình.

The archdiocese's press statement voiced its indignation at the violation of the law, describing the brutal attack as a violation of human dignity that has filled priests and believers with outrage as well as sown disquiet among Catholic communities.

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