02/03/2014, 00.00
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Hanoi: jailed Catholic lawyer shows "strong faith" in the future of the Vietnamese people

by Le Quoc Quan
Ahead of his appeal trial and on the occasion of the Lunar New Year, Le Quoc Quan wrote a letter, appealing to friends, Catholics and others around the country. He is grateful for the support he has received and talks about his hope for peace and justice in Vietnam. However, each day in jail "is a day of suffering for me and my family."

Hanoi (AsiaNews) - In the coming days, Catholic activist and lawyer Le Quoc Quan will be able to appeal his 30-month sentence after he was convicted on spurious tax fraud charges.

In reality, he was brought before a court for conducting legal work defending human rights and democracy in Vietnam, both in the courtroom and on the internet.

In jail, he has access only to two newspapers: Nhan Dân, the official newspaper of the Communist Party, and An Ninh, the police newspaper.

He cannot read other papers, magazines or books, including the Bible he asked for (in vain).

Vietnam infos, an overseas news website for and by the Vietnamese Diaspora, published a letter in which the jailed Catholic lawyer appeals to his friends and relatives on the occasion of the Lunar New Year.

In it, he recounts the feelings and hopes that accompany his appeal trial, not forgetting to thank "friends and Catholics" who supported him. He also makes a new request for help ahead of his appeal trial.

Lastly, he says that "every day in prison" is a "day of suffering for me and the family."

Here is the Catholic dissident's message:

To my dear compatriots, in Vietnam and in the world,

in my prison cell, I am happy to know that many of you worry about my fate and strongly support me. This is particularly the case of the many people, including friends and Catholics, who attended the lower court trial on 2 October 2013. All this is of great comfort to me in my faith and ideals.

My 30-month prison sentence is unfair and contrary to the law. I appealed to the Supreme Court, accusing the judge of failing to respect Article 295 of the [Vietnamese] Penal Code because he made an unlawful ruling.

Each day in prison is a day of suffering for me and my family, but what matters the most is the fact that it is one more day during which Vietnamese law is violated.

At every moment, in every place, I struggle in accordance with my idea of morality and knowledge. I am happy to see some small improvements, even though they are still very modest.

In view of my impending appeal trial, I hope to be able to count on your support, dear compatriots, and to see an unexpected turn of event. Outside support will have a real impact on the victory of freedom and justice, even in the courtroom.

In my prison, I feel at peace and I have strong faith in the future of our people. I think of all of you and I pray that everyone may live in peace and progress.

I offer my sincerest apologies to those who are sad or suffer for my behaviour, my ideals, my words, my actions. At the same time, I forgive those, whoever they are, who have made mistakes, and caused suffering to my spirit and to the members of my family.

At this point in time, I am filled with faith in the goodness, love, and compassion for man. And at the same time, I feel charged with the energy needed to fight relentlessly against cruelty and evil, for the development of conscience and the heart.

The good will grow and evil will decrease. Democracy will flourish, and the dictatorship will vanish. The heroic Vietnamese people will finally deserve to live in abundance and prosperity.

The same people will know how to achieve their goals and turn them into reality. Nobody has the right nor the ability to do it in their place.

Long live Vietnam!

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