Father Thaddeus Nguyen Van Ly is a Roman Catholic priest and prominent Vietnamese dissident involved in many pro-democracy movements. Father Ly has already spent around 15 years in prison for peacefully criticizing government policies on religion and advocating for greater respect for human rights since the late 1970’s. For his ongoing imprisonment and continuous non-violent protest, Amnesty International has adopted Nguyen Van Ly in December, 1983 as a Prisoner of conscience. In November, 2000, Nguyen Van Ly gained global and official attention, when members of the Committee for Religious Freedom visited Nguyen Van Ly in his village, during US president Clinton's visit to Vietnam but he was sentenced again in October 2001 to 15 years in prison for activities linked to the defence of free speech. The sentence was later reduced several times and he was finally released in February 2004. Most recently, his support for the Bloc 8406 manifesto has led to his sentence on March 30, 2007 for an additional eight years in prison. Read full biography

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Letter to Vietnam Prime Minister from Gary Humphries Senator for the ACT Australia

Hon Nguyen Tan Dung
Prime Minister
35 Ngo Quyen Hoang Hoa Tham
Ha Noi
Socialist Republic of Viet Nam

Dear Prime Minister,

I have written to you several times about Vietnam’s appalling human rights record.
I am extremely disappointed that I again find myself writing to you – this time about the incarceration of Father Thaddeus Nguyen Van Ly and the sentencing of fourth other pro-democracy activists, Mr. Nguyen Phong, Mr. Nguyen Binh Thanh, Ms Hoang Thi Anh Dao and Ms Le Thi Le Hang.

I was horrified to see Father Ly physically gagged in the court room by your police officials.
Your government went to great lengths during your hosting of APEC to portray improvements in human rights. It also appears that the WTO was misled about your human rights record in admitting Vietnam to this prestigious body.

I believe that all five are prisoners of conscience; unjustly incarcerated for courageously standing up for human rights and freedom of speech in Vietnam.

I am aware that Vietnam is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Bering this in mind, I humbly request that Vietnam ceases all political, religious and social oppression which grossly violates and degrades human rights in your country.

Vietnam can positively reflect commitment to its human rights obligations by immediately releasing Father Thaddeus Nguyen Van Ly, Mr. Nguyen Phong, Mr. Nguyen Binh Thanh, Ms Hoang Thi Anh Dao and Ms Le Thi Le Hang.

Please do not betray the trust so many people have placed in Vietnam.

Yours sincerely

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