» 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.
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.
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
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
of Kontum .
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.
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".
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.
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 ."
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 .
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.
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.
Card. Tong’s article on China-Holy See dialogue, arouses joy and dismay
The Hong Kong bishop’s optimism over a change in the method of appointing bishops and the function of the Patriotic Association. But it is unclear whether it is real change or just nominal, in words. Underground bishops are patriotic and love their country, but the Party is suspicious of them. Freedom in episcopal appointments is “essential", but the bishops are not free to exercise their ministry. Patriotic bishops controlled in their visits with members of the universal Church. The "bugs" (hidden microphones) in a bishop’s office.
Card. Tong: The future of Sino-Vatican dialogue from an ecclesiological point of view
Card. John Tong
The Hong Kong Cardinal outlines the steps that hope to propel dialogue between China and the Holy See. Themes include the Pope's role in the appointment of bishops; A change of vision in the Patriotic Association; the possible integration of the underground bishops in the Episcopal Conference. A new article by card. John Tong, following a previous article published a few months ago on "Communion of the Church in China with the universal Church."
13/02/2017 CHINA - VATICAN
14/02/2017 UNITED NATIONS - SYRIA
15/02/2017 LEBANON - VATICAN
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.