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  • » 03/09/2012, 00.00

    VIETNAM

    Two Vietnamese Catholics convicted of "anti-government" activities: "false accusations"

    Paul Hung

    The two, a woman and a young man, are accused of distributing leaflets compiled by Fr. Van Ly, currently in prison, against the Communist Party. The priest denies knowing the woman. In fact, she was condemned for advocating the rights of the Church in Tam Toa (Vinh diocese).

    Hanoi (AsiaNews) - Two Vietnamese Catholics have been sentenced to jail for distributing anti-government material. AsiaNews sources say, however, that the charges - at least for one of them - are false and it is only a government vendetta toward Catholics who defend the rights of the Church.

    Ms. Thuy Vo Thi Thu, 50, and Nguyen Van Thanh, 28, on March 6 were sentenced to five and three years imprisonment respectively by a court in the central province of Nghe An. The two were arrested in 2011 and were accused of distributing leaflets slandering the Chinese Communist Party and its leadership. According to the court, the leaflets were prepared by Fr. Nguyen Van Ly, a priest who for years has been fighting for a democratic, multiparty system in Vietnam. For this Fr. Van Ly, now very ill, has undergone several previous convictions. To date he is in prison, having been arrested on July 25, 2011.

    AsiaNews sources in Vietnam say that the charges against Ms. Vo are false. "When she was arrested, I asked Fr. Van Ly - free at the time - if he knew her and he said no and that he had never spoken with her."

    In fact, according to sources, Ms Vo was sentenced because of her commitment to the rights of the Church.

    In July 2009, Vo and dozens of other Catholics were arrested in the diocese of Vinh for having erected a cross and an altar on the ground of a church destroyed during the war and that the government wanted to seize to build a luxury residential center (see: 21/07/2009 Beatings and arrests of priests and faithful in the historic church of Tam Toa). In prison, Ms. Vo was, along with the others, savagely beaten and then released. The accusation of having taken action "against the government" is just a trick to punish a Catholic person without arousing criticism from the Christian community.

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    See also

    18/11/2009 VIETNAM
    Fr. Nguyen Van Ly suffers a stroke in prison
    The priest, a symbol of the struggle for religious freedom and democracy in Vietnam is semi-paralyzed, but can speak and responds to treatment. He was admitted to the military hospital in Hanoi and is being followed by the chief of cardiology. Family members report that he is "well treated" and "thanks" the doctors.

    26/07/2011 VIETNAM
    Father Nguyen Van Ly arrested again
    The priest, one of the founders of a movement for democracy that calls for an end to single party rule, is serving a sentence of 8 years in prison. He was released last year for serious health condition.

    25/08/2015 VIETNAM
    Fresh out of prison Vietnamese blogger reboots website denouncing government abuses
    Truong Duy Nhat continues his social commitment checking up on Communist leaders activities. In spite of two years in prison, he does not want "a quiet life" but steps up his civic engagement. He keeps the sites name and moves the server out of Vietnam.

    12/12/2008 CHINA
    Arrests continue for signers of Charter 08
    More signers of the document calling for respect for human rights are in jail, or under house arrest. But President Hu says that China will promote human rights only according to "the basic situation of the country."

    29/12/2012 VIETNAM
    Ho Chi Minh City, the People's Court condemns three bloggers for a total of 25 years
    Nguyen Van Hai, his son, Nguyen Tri Dung and Maria Ta Phong Tan, were convicted of subversive propaganda against the state. They fought for the respect of human rights and against corruption in the party. The Prime Minister ordered all the organs of the regime to stop the spread of "subversive" internet sites and blogs at all costs. On December 27, another blogger, the Catholic Le Quoc Quan, arrested for tax evasion. The authorities want to stop his activities in favor of democracy and religious freedom.



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