Just because Vietnam is not in the MSM doesn’t mean the Communist Party government there has become any less oppressive.
Yesterday, July 26, 2011, comes news that the government jackboots once again jailed a brave sick dissident priest, 66-year-old Fr. Thaddeus Nguyễn Văn Lý.
Police arrested Father Ly in the central diocese of Hue before an ambulance transported him to prison. Authorities claim he was returned to prison for distributing anti-government leaflets during his parole.
Ly is a Roman Catholic priest and prominent Vietnamese dissident who was imprisoned for a total of some 17 years – amid harsh conditions and often in solitary confinement – for calling on Vietnamese authorities to respect freedom of expression and other human rights. The publisher of the secret dissident journal To Do Ngon Luan (Freedom and Democracy), he co-founded the online pro-democracy movement Bloc 8406 and has helped to set up other banned political groups in Viet Nam. For his peaceful pro-democracy activities, Ly was sentenced on March 30, 2007, to eight years in prison for “conducting propaganda against the state” .
Father Ly had been serving his jail term in Ba Sao prison, near Ha Noi in northern Viet Nam, when he suffered a stroke in November 2009. He did not receive a proper diagnosis or adequate medical treatment and was only transferred to a prison hospital in Ha Noi some two weeks later. Despite being partially paralyzed, he was returned to his prison cell on 11 December 2009.
On 15 March 2010, he was granted a one-year “temporary suspension” of his sentence to seek medical treatment for a brain tumor. But his freedom was short-lived. On July 25, 2011, Ly was returned to prison.
For his ongoing imprisonment and continuous non-violent protest, Amnesty International has adopted Nguyen Van Ly in December 1983 as a prisoner of conscience. Amnesty International is calling on the Vietnamese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Father Ly. The organization’s Deputy Asia Pacific Directory Donna Guest said,
“Father Nguyen Van Ly is one of dozens of activists serving long jail terms for their peaceful criticism of the Vietnamese authorities. Father Ly is in very poor health and should never have been arrested in the first place. He is a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely for his peaceful pro-democracy work. The Vietnamese authorities must release him without delay, and in the meantime reveal his whereabouts and grant him immediate access to family members, his lawyer and adequate medical treatment. Peaceful dissent and the promotion of democracy are criminalized in Viet Nam, and these prisoners of conscience are being held in deplorable conditions.”
Please pray for this valiant martyr for Christ. Thank you.