Friday, July 10, 2009

Foreign Ministry defends Fr. Ly's imprisonment

Vietnam Foreign Ministry spokesperson Le Dung defended the 2007 trial and conviction of Fr. Nguyen Van Ly in a July 9 Hanoi press briefing. He said that Fr. Ly was sentenced (to eight years) "not for any religious reason or his political views;" and that his trial was "public and his rights at the court were protected in accordance with Vietnamese law." A July 1 letter by 37 U.S. senators, led by Barbara Boxer (D-California) and Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) called for Fr. Ly's immediate release and described his trial as "seriously flawed." Vietnam is one of 13 countries named as a "country of particular concern" by the independent U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom because of this and other recent arrests of religious people in Vietnam.

Sources: Reuters, July 9; Voice of Vietnam July 9; New York Times July 1; Barbara Boxer press release [text of Senators' letter] July 1; U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom 2009 report on Vietnam.


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