» 02/17/2014, 00.00
Thousands of Vietnamese, Christian and non, march for the release of Catholic lawyer
The Redemptorists in Hanoi and Saigon organize a candlelight vigil and pray for the release of Le Quoc Quan . Tomorrow the appeal process begins, concern over his state of health, physically weakened by two weeks of hunger strike. Hospitals in the capital refuse medical treatment to a Hmong Christian leader.
Hanoi (AsiaNews )
- At least 3 thousand Vietnamese, Christian and non, have joined the candlelight
vigil organized yesterday by the Redemptorist priests in Hanoi and Saigon. The
participants prayed for the health of Le Quoc Quan and many other activists,
dissidents, journalists and
bloggers in prison for their battle for the defense of human rights and
religious freedom in the country.
February 18, the first hearing of the appeal process for the Catholic lawyer is
scheduled to take place. Convicted on (false) charges of tax fraud, he has been
on hunger strike since February 2 to protest the prison authority's refusal to
provide him with legal and religious texts, including the Bible. His
family and lawyers warn the state of his health his "worrying".
sources report that he is very "weak" from lack of food and the seasonally
cold and wet climate in Hanoi. In
addition, the prison authorities have repeatedly prevented him from meeting his
lawyers (the last episode dates back to February 14), ahead of his appearance
before the Court of Appeal . His
case, along with that of hundreds of other dissidents and activists, has galvanized
popular discontent towards the Communist leadership and the regime in Vietnam.
arrested and released after short periods in the past, Le Quoc
Quan was detained again by Vietnamese government officials December 27, 2012 ,
with false and trumped-up charges of " tax evasion" an act strongly
condemned by many pro - human rights associations around the world . The sentence of 30 months in
prison and a hefty fine (56 thousand dollars) arrived on October 2, at the end
of a lightning trial that lasted a mere two hours. International organizations,
groups of Catholic activists and representatives of the main religions in
Vietnam have come to the defense of the dissident, who had fasted and prayed for a long time
ahead of the trial..
recent days, the story of a Hmong Christian leader who was rejected urgent treatment
in hospitals in the capital has also emerged. Duong
Van Minh, 52, suffers from a severe kidney disease. His relatives tried to have him admitted to various
hospitals, but none wanted to hospitalize him. Originally
from the northern province of Tuyen Quang, he was a guest of the community of
Redemptorists in Hanoi; it seems that there is a long-standing dispute between
the Vietnamese authorities and the religious minority, on the arrangements for
the burial of the dead, is behind the refusal to treat him.
the past, the Hmong leader spent five years in prison (1990-1995) and has been
repeatedly arrested and detained for questioning. During
a previous admission to a military hospital, the police forced him to pay for
medical expenses for his treatment.
Vietnamese government has been pursuing a harsh campaign against dissidents,
bloggers, religious leaders (including Buddhists), Catholic activists and
entire communities. A clear example of this was seen last year in the diocese of Vinh, where
national media and the government promoted a smear campaign and targeted
attacks against the bishop and faithful. The repression also affects
individuals guilty of claiming the right to religious freedom and respect for
citizens' civil rights and ethnic minorities such as the Hmong are targeted by Hanoi authorities
because they are accused of collaborating with the United States during the war
Hanoi, date set for Catholic lawyer and dissident, Le Quoc Quan’s appeal
Appeal set for next February 8. The lawyer was sentenced to 30 months for "tax evasion" , but sentence really motivated by his activism critical of the Communist Party and the government. "Satisfactory" health conditions. Only permitted "official" newspapers to read in his cell, forbidden the Bible.
Sentence against faithful of Thai Ha upheld. Catholics protest injustice
The appeals court has reconfirmed the sentence against the 8 who were calling for the return of land belonging to the parish. This morning, 5,000 Catholics marched for 12 kilometers to the site of the trial, and were stopped by 1,000 police officers in riot gear with guard dogs. The state television channel accuses the Redemptorists, and recommends that they be arrested. In Saigon, 5,000 Catholics and non-Catholics - together with local political authorities - took part in a prayer vigil. The eight defendants are "like Jesus."
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