2013-05-22 17:00:15

Vietnamese Catholics pray for release of Vinh Christian activists

(May 22, 2013) In Hanoi, Vietnam, Catholics, human rights activists, members of civil society and international organizations continue their mobilization for the release of 14 Christian activists - 13 Catholic and a Protestant - sentenced to various prison terms, for a maximum of 13 years. After numerous delays, the next hearing of eight defendants is scheduled for Thursday (May 23). In this month of May, dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the Asian nation's Festival of Flowers, the Catholic community is uniting around the young people, imprisoned on charges of "subversion" against the state, and are appealing to the government in Hanoi to free them as they are completely innocent of the charges against them. Activists and international organizations have spared no criticism of the government for the illegal arrest and subsequent sentencing. European countries, Asian and international pro-human rights committees have also taken up the defence of the 14 Christian activists. So far over 30 thousand signatures have been collected, demanding the communist authorities intercede for their release.
The story of young Christians in prison - and pending appeal - is tied to the arbitrary imprisonment of activists and nationalists, guilty only of having peacefully protested against Beijing's "imperialist" aggression in the South China Sea.

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