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

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Former Czech leader calls on Vietnam to release dissident priest

The Czech Republic's first post-communist president, Vaclav Havel, has backed a call by other former communist-era dissidents for the release of Fr Nguyen Van Ly, the pro-democracy priest sentenced to eight years prison in Vietnam for disseminating "anti-government propaganda".

The International Herald Tribune reports that four of Fr Ly's associates were also jailed, one to a six-year term.
Another two activists, lawyers Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thi Cong Nhan, are due to go on trial later this month.

"We are worried by this undemocratic action which we perceive as a gross violation of civic rights," said an open letter to the Vietnamese prime minister, president and parliamentary speaker, signed by Havel and dozens of other prominent Czech personalities.
"We express our solidarity with the convicts and demand an immediate release of the convicts and the arrested," the letter said.

Roman Catholic Bishop Vaclav Maly, Rabbi Karol Sidon or Senator Petr Pithart - dissidents under the former communist regime - are among the letter's signatories.

1 comment:

Van Anh Thanh said...

From the bottom of my heart,
thank you for creating this blog,
thank you for speaking for the defenless.
Vietnamese history will appreciate your good will.