Sunday, February 06, 2005

Appeal delayed for Mennonite prisoners

A Ho Chi Minh City court announced Jan. 27 the indefinite postponement of appeals for Rev. Nguyen Hong Quang and evangelist Pham Ngoc Thanh of the Vietnamese Mennonite Church. The two are among six Mennonites who were detained in a series of arrests that began on March 2 of last year and brought to a half-day trial in Ho Chi Minh City on Nov. 12. Rev. Quang, who served as Secretary General of the Vietnamese Mennonite Church and was active in the Vietnamese Evangelical Fellowship, was sentenced to three years, while Thanh was sentenced to two years. Nguyen Thach Nhan and Nguyen Hieu Nghia, also among the six Mennonites, were released early last month. They were reportedly badly beaten by prison guards and fellow inmates, one left partially paralyzed and the other with a potentially life-threatening condition. The two other detained Mennonites are Nguyen Van Phuong and Le Thi Hong Lien. Phong, who was sentenced to one year, has been denied an appeal. Lien's appeal cannot proceed because she suffered a nervous breakdown. Amnesty International has adopted Lien as an Urgent Action case, and reports that she has been severely mistreated. (Christian Today, Feb. 4; Amnesty International Urgent Action notice on Le Thi Hong Lien, Jan. 7).


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