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» 02/09/2010
VIETNAM
Vietnam, U.S. report: the health of Fr Van Ly is in "rapid deterioration"
by J.B. An Dang
The U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom denounces the worsening conditions of the Catholic priest. The communist regime has stepped up violence and repression against the activists for democracy and human rights. Fr. Van Ly: pray for me and for the victims of Communist persecution.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - The U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom in Vietnam denounces the serious health condition of Fr. Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly. The 63 year-old priest, one of the most important political prisoners in the country, has spent 15 years in prison for his fight in defence of human rights. "Now as never before – reads the recently published report - his mental and physical conditions are rapidly deteriorating."

Father Van Ly, from Nguyet Bieu parish, Hue diocese, was sentenced March 30, 2007 to eight years in prison and five of house arrest on charges of founding a movement for democracy, called "Bloc 8406", in April 2006.  Today this movement has 2 thousand members, and it supports illegal groups such as the Progressive Party of Vietnam.  

Previously he had spent 14 years in prison - between 1977 and 2004 - for his battles in defence of religious freedom and human rights in the communist country. The image of the handcuffed priest in the courts, being silenced by a policeman while protesting against the persecutions of the communist regime made him famous throughout the world. 

Among the dozens of political prisoners being held in Vietnamese prisons for alleged "propaganda activities against the state", the case of Fr Van Ly is perhaps the most controversial and infamous. Since his sentencing, the priest has had no contact with the outside world except for the prison guards and the occasional visits of family members. He has repeatedly suffered a stroke and is partially paralyzed on one side of his body, a disability exacerbated by lack of medical care in prison.

Human rights activists report an increase in the trials and sentences of the communist regime against members who are fighting for democracy and freedom of speech in Vietnam. A clampdown linked, perhaps, to the national party congress scheduled for early 2011. Recently Fr. Van Ly has refused to cooperate with the medical staff of the prison, because he does not believe in the professionalism of the doctors sent by the State. A decision also in protest against what he calls his "unjust imprisonment."

During their last visit, on February 1, the family of the priest reported an "emotional outbursts". He has also announced a hunger strike to protest against "the extreme cruelty of the government." Fr. Van Ly while stressing the support of other political prisoners and communion with the Catholic Church in the battle for justice and religious freedom. " "He asks us to pray every day - concludes the U.S. report - for the victims of communist persecution and to pray for him."


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See also
06/03/2011 VIETNAM
Vietnamese priests who follow the Communist party elected to parliament. The faithful are angry.
by Nguyen Thanh
10/08/2010 VIETNAM
Vietnamese church launches first ever Justice and Peace Commission
by J.B. An Dang
04/30/2005 VIETNAM
Hanoi frees prisoners of conscience on the anniversary of reunification
06/27/2012 VIETNAM
Bishop of Kontum denounces the Vietnamese authorities for seizing religious buildings
07/27/2010 VIETNAM-US
Trade, but also human rights, in Washington-Hanoi cooperation
by J. B. Vu

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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