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  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato

    » 10/25/2013, 00.00


    Vinh, 7 months jail for two Catholics who fought for religious freedom

    Nghe An provincial judges sentence Ngo Van Khoi and Nguyen Van Hai. The bishop and entire diocese fought for their release, drawing authorities’ ire. The family had not been notified of the hearing, which lasted only three hours. A priest speaking anonymously confirms: "They are innocent".

    Vinh (AsiaNews) - Disappointment, anger, dismay: this is the reaction of family, priests and parishioners in My yen following the sentence imposed on two Vietnamese Catholics in prison for months, for having fought in favor of human rights and religious freedom. The entire Vietnamese Catholic community had fought for their release and their story, thanks to the commitment and testimony of the Bishop of Vinh Msgr. Paul Nguyen Thai Hop, had garnered international interest. However, a court in the coastal region in north-central Vietnam issued the verdict on charges of "disturbing" public order. A specious charge frequently used by judges and by the communist authorities to silence dissent and free voices in the country.

    On 23 October, the judges of the Court of Vinh , capital of the province of Nghe An, sentenced 53 year old Ngo Van Khoi to seven months in prison and Nguyen Van Hai , 43, to six months in jail (pictured a time of trial ) . The hearing lasted about three hours in a closed-door trial that not even the family were informed of.

    The two were arrested last June, in the weeks after the authorities had announced their release on several occasions but never carried out their promise. Their failure to release the two sparked animated protests violently repressed by Vietnamese police, as happened on September 4 with numerous injuries and several arrests. In response to the faithful - steadfast in supporting priests and diocesan leaders in the fight for the freedom of the parishioners - celebrated Masses and prayer vigils, attended by tens of thousands of people .

    Vietnamese media also launched a heavy smear campaign against the bishop, while the Nghe An provincial authorities sought to isolate the prelate from the Conference of Bishops and obtain his expulsion . A position that united the Vietnamese bishops even more and gave rise to demonstrations of solidarity, respect and closeness from the prelates nationwide, including the Bishop of Kontum .

    Speaking to Radio Free Asia (RFA ) the children of Khoi say they are shocked by the verdict, pointing out that both their father as his friend Hai "are innocent" , they have appealed to all competent authorities, at all levels, for their release. The family adds that it became aware of the trial from some villagers, not of the Catholic faith, who expressed " sadness " because they were not allowed access to the court for the trial.

    According to reports, a village official revealed to some people - but not Catholics - that the judges were preparing to prosecute the two parishioners, but have refrained from informing the men's relatives . A local priest speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the two "are innocent " and that "they should be released".


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    See also

    08/10/2013 VIETNAM
    Vinh: amid threats and attacks, 50 thousand Catholics pray for release of the two parishioners
    Tens of thousands of faithful at the Mass on October 6 , ask for the release of two faithful unjustly imprisoned. The function was held in an area marked by the devastation caused by typhoon Witif . Not far away soldiers and paramilitary militias held urban warfare exercises in riot gear.

    18/09/2013 VIETNAM
    Bishop of Vinh concerned by regime attacks, appeals for international support
    In an interview with AsiaNews , Msgr . Paul Nguyen Thai Hop speaks of "a dangerous and worrying situation" for the Christians of the diocese, who are under the scrutiny of the Vietnamese authorities. He calls for the respect of human rights and the release of jailed parishioners. He also calls for " solidarity and support " for an end to " lies and slander ."

    19/10/2013 VIETNAM
    Buddhists and Christians denounce Hanoi for using law to control religions
    Joint document by leaders of major religions in Vietnam , against the limitations to freedom posed by the communist government. The target the 2004 Norm on Religions and the implementation of 2012 Decree. The separation between state and religion is the basis for a democratic country , which must ensure "freedom" and "independence" in religious practice .

    06/09/2012 VIETNAM
    Diocese of Vinh to appeal judges: acquit three young innocent Catholics
    The Commission for Justice and Peace demolish charges under which they were convicted and calls for a just trial "in accordance with international law." The three charged with "propaganda against the state". Catholic leaders: civil liberties guaranteed by the Constitution but are not recognized by the Criminal Code.

    03/07/2012 VIETNAM
    Vinh: Catholics targeted by thugs and authorities. Dozens of faithful injured during
    A group linked to the Patriotic Front targets the Catholics of Con Cuong while celebrating mass. A woman has fractures to her head and is hospitalized. The authorities pay authors of the raid up to 25 dollars as "compensation" for their "work". Protest of the faithful: violation of religious freedom and the laws of the country.

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