2 December, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile

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

e-mail this to a friend printable version

» 09/25/2012
Catholics to pray for three bloggers unfairly given harsh prison sentences
by Paul N. Hung
Sentences range between 4 and 12 years in jail, plus probation. Redemptorists celebrate Mass for the prisoners. US State Department complains the accused simply exercised their right to free speech. Human Rights Watch protests, calls on the authorities to listen to the people and to its critics.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - A court in Ho Chi Minh City sentenced three Vietnamese bloggers, Nguyễn Văn Hải (Blogger Điếu Cày),  Maria Tạ Phong Tần and Phan Thanh hải (blogger anh Ba Sài Gòn), to 4 to 12 years in prison, plus probation, for "propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam".

On a cold and rainy morning, police arrested and took away relatives of the accused who tried to attend the trial. Some 400 officers from the police and the secret services patrolled the streets leading to the courthouse (pictured).

The three were arrested and convicted on baseless charges. In fact, if the law has been violated, it is by the authorities.

International organisations like Human Rights Watch slammed the court decision.

"We are deeply troubled by the convictions of three Vietnamese bloggers who appear to have done nothing more than exercise their right to freedom of expression," said State department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

On Sunday, the Redemptorists heeded a request by the bloggers' relatives for a Mass to pray for them and 17 other Catholics unfairly jailed. Some 2,000 people attended the service, including non-Catholics.

"It was certain that the three faced heavy prison sentences," said Fr Joseph, "that they would 'lose' in the trial; however, their work was meaningful. They are brave patriots in a society of unjust behaviours. We prayed especially for new Catholic bloggers."

The convictions are based on Article 88 of the Criminal Code, an infamous legal tool used to arrest and incriminate people arbitrarily.

For this trouble, Nguyễn Văn Hải was given 12 years in prison, and five years of probation. Maria Tạ Phong Tần, who was baptised by the Redemptorists in 2009, received a nine-year sentenced, plus five years probation.  Phan Thanh Hải was given four years in prison and three on probation.

For some, this is a harsh and unfair sentence. It allows us to understand the direction the government is taking.

Human Rights Watch called on the government to release the prisoners immediately.  The government needs to understand the nature of social issues and phenomena and should listen to people's opinions, even their criticism. If the bloggers are gagged, or imprisoned, the country's current problems and difficulties cannot be solved.

e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
08/27/2014 VIETNAM
To please Beijing, Hanoi jails three activists on false charges
04/04/2011 VIETNAM
Tens of thousands of Catholics in Vietnam support sentenced dissident
by J.B. An Dang
12/16/2008 VIETNAM
Hanoi mayor wants to drive Redemptorists out of town
by J.B. An Dang
04/14/2011 VIETNAM
Catholics, arrested for supporting Cu Huy Ha Vu, released
by Emily Nguyen
10/27/2010 VIETNAM
Vietnamese bishops ask government to "explain" Con Dau situation

Editor's choices
Paris Massacre highlights the failure of Muslim integration in Europe
by Catherine FieldThe attack in the heart of France highlights the crisis of Europe’s model of coexistence. Social unrest, poverty and marginalisation feed youth extremism and radicalisation. A New Zealander journalist, expert on expertise in religion and interfaith dialogue, talks about it after undertaking a journey through the French Muslim world.
For Nîmes imam, Islam should not be held hostage by extremists
by Hochine DrouicheFrench imams condemn the Paris terrorist attacks and disassociate themselves from violence committed in "the name of our religion." At the same time, they ask Muslim communities to dare leading a life of dialogue and friendship with Europeans, without fear or arrogance. For centuries, Muslims have ruled out reason from their religious life. The vice president of French imams bears witness.
AsiaNews marks 12 years: Persecution and hope
by Bernardo CervelleraDespite a worldwide increase of ignorance, indifference and superficiality, many signs of love and hope resist even in the most gloomy situations: the Iraqi mother who gives birth to her child in a refugee camp and smiles even though she has nothing; the Indonesian Muslim mother who blesses her son who became a Christian and a priest; the Chinese Christian families that welcome children thrown away because of the one-child law.


Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.