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

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Geneva Radical Party’s General Secretary writes to WTO

Mr Pascal Lamy
Director General
World Trade Organization
Rue de Lausanne 153

May 7, 2007

Re: Vietnamese political dissidents to be tried in Hanoi on May 11

Dear Sir,

I am taking the liberty of writing to you following our meeting with the Suisse-Vietnam Committee. On May 11, the Vietnamese judiciary authorities will put on trial two young lawyers in Hanoi for “abusing democratic freedoms (sic!) and propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.”

Since joining the World Trade Organization, Hanoi regime has showed an alarming increase in intensive crackdown against political activists. This is evidenced by the case of Catholic priest, Father Nguyen Van Ly who was muzzled during his trial on March 30. The images of this lame trial have been witnessed all over the world. Between November 2006 and end of April 2007, we have been informed of at least 22 arrests of political activists in Vietnam.

We have alerted the Swiss authorities who, we hope, will make sure that international observers will be allowed to attend all the trials of these Vietnamese political dissidents. We have also alerted the Human Rights Council about the numerous violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that Vietnam was a signatory since 1982.

Considering that Vietnam recently joined WTO, we will continue to inform you of all the cases that we are aware. Certainly liberalization of commercial trade will eventually come with an increased democratization; however we would like to take action so that the transition will occur with as few human victims as possible.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely yours,

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