Hanoi ( AsiaNews) - They can not
go to mass, have the spiritual comfort of a priest nor even a Bible. This is the condition of 61 (data dating to 2013
) prisoners "of conscience" in Vietnam, a situation that becomes even
more unbearable during Lent, confirmed by a letter from a blogger.
Prison guards in Hanoi and Thanh
Hoa province, in a clear violation of human rights and religious freedom will
not allow the lawyer Lê
Quốc Quân, or bloggers Maria Tạ Phong Tần and
Trần Minh Nhat receive a Bible from their relatives.
The latest denunciation of the
situation is contained in a letter written by blogger Paul Trần Minh Nhật to the former Archbishop Nguyễn Văn Nhơn, who was also president of the Episcopal
Conference of Vietnam. "
... We could not even attend Mass on Sundays, nor read the Bible. We had a
great desire to receive the sacraments and spiritual support from a priest, but
the prison heads forbid us this".
The case of blogger Maria Tạ Phong Tần is of serous concern. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison and is
now imprisoned in Yên Dinh camp no. 5, Thanh Hoa province. It is renowned as one of the harshest labor
camps. She would like to have a Bible to
hear the Word of God. Her younger sister
reports: "The guards used activist prisoners to beat my sister. They
insulted my mother, though my mother died, setting herself on fire in front of
the People's Committee in
Bac Lieu province, July 30, 2012 , to protest against this injustice".
prisoners of conscience are denied health care and spiritual care, they are
denied decent food and their human rights are not respected. Many of
them are sick and in some cases severely so. Miss
T., a relative of a prisoner of conscience is called "crushed by the
regime. The mother is dead, but still they will not leave her in peace. Perhaps
they fear the truth and prisoners of conscience". "It's
really horrible - reports the blogger Thanh Nghien - when someone offends the
dead. This is the dirty work of prison guards and managers of local prisons. A
while ago I was in jail and I know that the guards admire and fear the
prisoners of consciousness".
because they don't need permission to believe in God