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

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Lawmakers demand that Vietnam release three jailed dissidents

WASHINGTON: The U.S. House of Representatives is demanding that Vietnam improve the way it treats its people and free all political prisoners, particularly a Roman Catholic priest and two human rights lawyers facing long prison sentences.

The dissident priest, the Rev. Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly, and lawyers Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thi Cong Nhan are in jail on various charges involving alleged anti-government activities. Nguyen Van Ly was sentenced at the end of March to eight years in prison.

A resolution, proposed by Republican Rep. Chris Smith and passed Wednesday, says the United States should "make a top concern the immediate release, legal status and humanitarian needs" of the three.

The U.S. government also should "urge the government of Vietnam to comply with internationally recognized standards for basic freedoms and human rights."
It also says the House "challenges the qualifications of Vietnam to be a member of the United Nations Security Council" unless the Vietnamese government "begins immediately to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms for all within its own borders."

No comments: